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Mike Bloomberg rallies Jewish voters with speech decrying nativism

Battleground Tracker: Sanders, Biden and a wild finish ahead in Iowa

Mike Bloomberg is launching a nationwide outreach effort, "United for Mike," to rally support among Jewish Americans in his bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination. A day before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Bloomberg addressed a crowd of about 850 in Miami, about the rise of attacks against people of faith.

"We are confronted by sights that we thought we would never see outside of old black and white newsreels: synagogues attacked, Jews murdered, Nazis marching brazenly and openly by torchlight. Not in some other country — but in the United States — in our Golden Medina." Bloomberg said.

Although the former New York City mayor told the crowd that attacks on Jews have been taking place with "horrifying regularity," he also pointed out that attacks against immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, Muslims and people of color have also been on the rise.  He didn't openly attribute the increase in incidents to President Trump, but he did say that "presidential leadership matters."

"When the president calls his supporters 'real Americans' – an echo of the language that nativists, anti-Semites, and the KKK used for many decades, he undermines our fundamental national values," Bloomberg said. He added, "When he is silent — and even supportive, through his words and tweets — as racist groups spread hate, he puts the public safety of our communities at risk."

Bloomberg told the audience that "there is no such thing as a 'very fine' white supremacist," an allusion to President Trump's remarks after the deadly racially motivated Charlottesville protests in 2017, when he said that there were "very fine people on both sides."

During the speech Bloomberg also promised the U.S. would always stand by Israel, vowing that as president, he would, "always have Israel's back."

"I will never impose conditions on our military aid, including missile defense — no matter who is prime minister," he said. "And I will never walk away from our commitment to guarantee Israel's security."

Despite the fact that he didn't support the 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed by President Obama, Bloomberg chastised President Trump for unilaterally pulling out of the deal, calling the decision "tantamount to giving Iran permission to re-launch its nuclear program."

Bloomberg acknowledged the fact that he is not the only Jewish person in the race, but he told the crowd that he's the only Jewish candidate who, "doesn't want to turn America into a kibbutz," a clear jab at Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who has seen a recent surge in early state's polling.

However the clear target during his remarks was Mr. Trump. He called the upcoming election "a referendum on the meaning of America."

"Some elections are about the difference between marginal tax rates, or the national debt, or school uniforms. This election is about so much more." Bloomberg said.

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