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Steyer challenges Bloomberg on wealth tax

This image is a split-screen of Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.
Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. Photos: Mark Makela/Getty Images and Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

2020 Democratic candidate and billionaire Tom Steyer challenged incoming contender Michael Bloomberg on Friday to support a wealth tax or leave the 2020 race.

The big picture: Bloomberg told Axios he will "spend whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump." Steyer, also a billionaire, has spent more than any other Democratic candidate to self-fund his campaign — allowing him to meet the increasingly strict qualifications for presidential debates.

What he's saying: “People like Michael Bloomberg and I, who have done well under the current economic system, have a direct responsibility to address wealth inequality and bring forth progressive plans to support working families."

  • Steyer said the Democratic nominee must support a wealth tax if they also support progressive policies like the Green New Deal and universal health care.

Between the lines: A Steyer campaign aide would not explicitly say if Steyer and Bloomberg have a responsibility to increase taxes on the wealthy because they are billionaires.

  • "I think what Tom is talking about specifically is a wealth tax, and obviously that does impact those people at the very top. And when you think about who those people at the very top are in this race, there are only two of them," the aide told Axios.

Go deeper: 2020 candidates' Q3 fundraising hauls