Trump operates by gut. Bloomberg demands data and more data. Trump doesn’t really have his hand on the wheel — he just wants to be the shiny hood ornament. Bloomberg is all pinpoint GPS navigation. He didn’t always steer New York in the right direction. But there was never any question that he’d keep us out of the ditch.
Trump is playing midwife to ever more extreme, debilitating partisanship. It’s hard to envision Bloomberg doing the same. How could he demonize Republicans, independents or Democrats when he has been a Republican, an independent and a Democrat? And while that may make him appear as ideologically rudderless as Trump, he’s not. Many of his core positions and principles — pro-immigration, pro-choice, in favor of free trade, in support of clean air — have been intact for a long while.
He’s pro-transparency, too. When he was in government, he routinely released his tax returns, though his station was well below the presidency and there weren’t rampant suspicions about untoward influences on him and sinister conflicts of interest. He has had complaints about journalists but never sought to delegitimize journalism itself. He never would. He owns a media company.
He built that company from scratch, without noteworthy melodrama. Trump got into real estate courtesy of his father, who gave and lent him large amounts of money, and as he sought to grow that fortune, he sprouted lawsuits and bankruptcies like weeds.
Bloomberg is fanatical about recruiting top-notch talent and empowering it. Trump picks a mix of standouts and stooges and disempowers them — if they’re lucky. If they’re not, he disembowels them. Ask Jeff Sessions, who probably considers Mel Gibson’s end in “Braveheart” preferable to his endless mortification. Bloomberg’s top aides say that with him, loyalty is a two-way street. With Trump it goes in only one direction.
Bloomberg’s mayoral administration was light on ethical scandals. Trump’s presidential administration … why even waste the keystrokes?
Trump is a Potemkin philanthropist, so much so that a Washington Post reporter, David Fahrenthold, won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing all the fakery in the Trump Foundation, and the attorney general of New York opened an investigation into it. Bloomberg is the real deal, supporting a carefully chosen array of causes genuinely dear to him. Eight years ago he signed the Giving Pledge, by which nearly 200 billionaires around the world have agreed to donate more than half of their wealth. In the last two years alone, he gave away more than $1 billion.