By Amanda Weston
The battle of the billionaires may be heating up ahead of the 2020 presidential race, as former mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg took a swipe at ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz after he announced a potential run for president as an independent during an interview on "60 Minutes" Sunday.
Bloomberg, who is reportedly considering his own White House bid on the Democratic ticket, released a statement on Monday that said in part that "there is no way an independent can win."
"In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President," Bloomberg said.
The two billionaires are looking in part to capitalize on their corporate success to gain an edge against President Trump, who leveraged his business career to gain the presidency.
"Anything is really possible at this point, and you don't want to ignore a white billionaire announcing a candidacy for president," Julia Manchester, reporter at The Hill, told Cheddar Monday. "We saw it happen in 2015 and [Trump]\ won."
Bloomberg, who served as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 as a centrist Republican, switched political parties last year in a move thought to foreshadow a 2020 bid for president. Monday's back-and-forth sparked further speculation Bloomberg will enter the race.
"Some would say shows that he's clearly inching toward it ー he's clearly thinking about it," Manchester said. "However, I don't think this statement confirms that."
In his statement, Bloomberg said running as an independent would be too risky.
"That's a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can't afford to run it now. We must remain united, and we must not allow any candidate to divide or fracture us. The stakes couldn’t be higher."
Bloomberg did not expressly name Schultz.
"You're seeing a lot of Democrats expressing concern that an independent such as Schultz getting in could split that ticket, and that's their biggest concern," Manchester said.
"You already have a huge field as well as two progressives ー potentially Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, that could very well split the ticket."
A third billionaire, President Trump, also weighed on Schultz's possible run on Monday, tweeting that he "doesn’t have the 'guts' to run for President!"
For full interview click here.