'I love the competition': Donald Trump encourages Michael Bloomberg to run for president

Real-estate developer Donald Trump repeatedly said over the weekend that he would “love” for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) to enter the 2016 fray.

“I mean, I love the competition,” Trump said Saturday night on Fox News when asked about the fellow New York billionaire’s potential presidential campaign.

“I understand Michael,” he added. “I know Michael. And I could see him doing it. And I would love to have Michael run. Honestly, I love the competition.”

The New York Times reported earlier that day that Bloomberg was seriously considering a third-party bid for the White House.

According to the report, Bloomberg sees an opening for a centrist candidate like himself if Republicans nominate Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Democrats went with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a self-described democratic socialist. And the billionaire media mogul is reportedly willing to spend at least $1 billion to fund his own campaign.

Trump, the current Republican front-runner, said on Fox News that he would do well in a three-way race.

“I think I’d do very well against Michael. And I think I’d do very well frankly in a three-person race. It would be fine. But I would love to see Michael do that,” he said.

Trump also predicted that Bloomberg would take more votes away from the Democratic nominee than himself. He pointed out that Bloomberg is known for his advocacy for stricter gun-control policies.

“He could very well hurt the Democrats,” he said. “He’s very, very anti-Second Amendment — very. And he’s got a lot of other things. I think he’d hurt the Democrats, personally, but I’d love to see him in the race.”

Melania Knauss michael bloomberg donald trump

Trump had a similar message Sunday when he was asked about Bloomberg’s potential campaign on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I would love it. I know Michael very well. I would love to compete against Michael. And I know him very well,” Trump said, according to the show’s transcript. “And I think he might very well get in the race. And I would love to have him get in the race. … He’s very opposite on me with guns, and he’s opposite on pro-life, and he’s opposite on lot of things. So, I would love to have Michael get in the race.”

Trump further described Bloomberg as a former, and possibly current, “friend.”

“And Michael has been a friend of mine over the years. Perhaps we’re not friends anymore,” he said. “He’s wanted to do this for a long time. And he never pulled the trigger, and we will see if he does right now. But I would personally love to compete with Michael Bloomberg.”

The Republican front-runner had almost the exact same response on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

“Michael has been a friend of mine over the years. I don’t know if we’re friends anymore, frankly. But Michael has been a friend of mine,” Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd, according to the show’s transcript.

“I would love to have Michael Bloomberg run,” he added. “I would love that competition. I think I’d do very well against it. I would love to see Michael Bloomberg run.”

NOW WATCH: Watch Tina Fey take on Sarah Palin’s Trump endorsement speech on SNL

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.