WASHINGTON — They were the tweets Washington had been waiting for after Mike Bloomberg announced Wednesday he's suspending his presidential campaign.
"He didn't have what it takes," President Donald Trump tweeted after his archrival's exit from the race. Trump claimed he had seen the folly in Bloomberg's effort from the start and warned that any effort by Bloomberg to salvage his reputation was futile.
Bloomberg responded to the tweet with a clip from "Star Wars" that suggests he plans to continue working, and spending part of his $61 billion fortune, to help beat Trump in November.
A few minutes later, Trump tweeted again, this time singling out Bloomberg's campaign adviser Tim O'Brien, who previously worked for Bloomberg's company before he joined the campaign.
For long-time Trump watchers, the president's focus on O'Brien comes as no surprise. In 2005, O'Brien published TrumpNation, an investigative biography of Trump. In it, he wrote that Trump "was not remotely close to being a billionaire," and that Trump's net worth was closer to between $150 million and $250 million.
Trump sued O'Brien, claiming the journalist had intentionally set out to damage Trump's reputation by printing false information about Trump's net worth in order to sell more books. A judge rejected Trump's libel suit in 2009.
A few minutes after the tweet about O'Brien, Trump again went after Bloomberg, this time mocking him using a line from Bloomberg's announcement that he was dropping out of the race.
But if Trump is defeated this fall, his loss could be partly due to the impact of Bloomberg's money on the 2020 presidential contest
The media mogul and former New York mayor has pledged to spend as much as $1 billion to defeat Trump, even if he is not the eventual Democratic nominee.
Prior to dropping out, Bloomberg spent more than $500 million mounting an unconventional campaign that relied entirely on making a strong showing on Super Tuesday.
When Bloomberg won only the U.S. territory of American Samoa and failed in the 14 state races, it became apparent that his strategy of skipping the first four nominating contests in favor of Super Tuesday had flopped.
Bloomberg endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday, pledging that he would "work to make him the next President of the United States."