Billionaire Mike Bloomberg tells female voters: I will 'fight with you'

He made this pitch after scrutiny over past controversies involving women.

February 29, 2020, 6:57 PM

Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg spent Saturday morning rallying support in northern Virginia at a "Women for Mike 2020" event, appealing to moderate voters in the Washington suburbs ahead of Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg, who has been criticized by some opponents over several nondisclosure agreements with former female employees stemming from alleged workplace comments, held the event with a group of longtime female employees who praised his leadership and the workplace he fostered in City Hall, his philanthropic organization, and at his financial data and communications company. He also recently announced that he would give three women the option to be released from the agreements, if they wanted.

PHOTO: Mike Bloomberg, Democratic presidential candidate and former Mayor of New York City, participates in a "Women for Mike 2020" campaign rally, in McLean, Va., Feb. 2020.
Mike Bloomberg, Democratic presidential candidate and former Mayor of New York City, participates in a "Women for Mike 2020" campaign rally, in McLean, Va., Feb. 2020. Virginia is one of fourteen states, as well as one US territory, in which people are casting votes on Super Tuesday on March 3.
Michael Reynolds/EPA via Shutterstock

Bloomberg thanked the women for their words and jumped right in, touting his relationship with his employees.

"Well good morning women for Mike, I’m Mike for women," Bloomberg told the crowd. "I wouldn’t be standing here without you. We’ve been through so much together over the years including snow storms -- didn’t do that right all the time --, hurricanes, even [an] earthquake. And when you have survived several natural disasters together, you had better like each other and we do."

He also spoke in personal terms about his relationship with his mother to a largely older crowd, saying she continues to teach him lessons even years after passing away. He added that his daughters inherited her "smarts" and "toughness."

The billionaire then noted that the greatest influence he could leave on his children is to make the world "a better place" for them and their families -- citing that as the reason he chose to join the 2020 presidential race.

"It is the least I can do for the people who made my world so much better and that’s exactly why I decided to run for president," he said. "Under this president, so many values I hold dear are at risk because President [Donald] Trump has attacked women and women’s rights from the moment he swore the oath of office, and he threatens women’s health and women’s safety through his policies and his judicial appointments."

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg arrives for a "Women for Mike 2020" rally at the Hilton hotel on Feb. 29, 2020, in Tysons Corner, Va.
Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg arrives for a "Women for Mike 2020" rally at the Hilton hotel on Feb. 29, 2020, in Tysons Corner, Va.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

He added, "We cannot let it continue any longer and I promise you, you and I won’t ... As president I will fight with you to protect health and rights of all women."

The complaints also included recent allegations that he once told a former employee to "kill it" when she revealed that she was pregnant.

In the short term, the woman said it damaged her, claiming in her lawsuit that it was part of why she left the company -- sacrificing a lucrative paycheck and a job she said she loved -- and suffered serious psychological and physical health setbacks.

Before the billionaire took the stage on Saturday, a video featuring women calling for reproductive rights was displayed at the event.

As voters in South Carolina made their way to the polls for the state's primary, the Bloomberg campaign planned 2,400 events in 30 states ahead of next week.

Still, he continued on, listing the roles women have played in his life and praising them for their part in his success.

PHOTO:Women listen as Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a "Women for Mike 2020" rally at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner on Feb. 29, 2020, in McLean, Va.
Women listen as Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a "Women for Mike 2020" rally at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner on Feb. 29, 2020, in McLean, Va.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"One thing is as true as today as ever before," he said. "All of my success, everything I’ve done is thanks to the strong women that I’ve been lucky enough to have around."

As he continued his attacks on the president, he acknowledged that these issues were present even before Trump moved in to the White House.

"It’s not as if this country was a utopia for women before 2016, and you can just go ask my friend Hillary Clinton and she’ll tell ya," he said.

The Bloomberg campaign handed out buttons during the event that said "I have been a woman for Mike since...," leaving a blank spot to add the year.

ABC News spoke with a woman named Maria Wright, who was wearing one that said "I have been a woman for Mike since Joe Biden tanked."

She was not bothered by the recent NDA controversy nor the allegations of inappropriate comments to female employees that have been raised against the former mayor.

"We have seen so much from our current president, so much hurt and he didn’t have to explain anything so we don’t think [Bloomberg's] that bad," Wright said.

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