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After viewing presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg onstage tonight in the MSNBC debate, state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) expressed strong misgivings about the former mayor of New York, even going so far as to suggest he’s too damaged on a critical issue to be credible.
“I don’t understand the rush to endorse Mike Bloomberg,” Weinberg told InsiderNJ. “This is his first test on the ‘big stage’ and it wasn’t a stellar performance for him.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Sherrill (D-11), Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and others in the NJ political stratosphere have already announced their support for Bloomberg as a core part of the establishment looks for ways to detach from the scrapped prez candidacy of U.S. Senator Cory Booker and a stumbling former Vice President Joe Biden to attach itself to Bloomberg.
Weinberg cautioned New Jersey pols about the former New York mayor, who bungled one issue in particular in the judgement of the veteran senator from Bergen County.
Weinberg chairs an ad hoc committee she founded at the end of December 2019 to uncover and examine allegations in New Jersey of misogynistic behavior (and worse) in politics and government. The committee evolved in part out of questions about the use of non-disclosure agreements by the 2017 campaign of Governor Phil Murphy. Weinberg last year urged millionaire Murphy to stop state government attorneys from enforcing confidentiality agreements to block plaintiffs and witnesses from testifying in sexual assault and harassment cases.
“Non-disclosure agreements are no longer legal under legislation that I sponsored and the Governor signed into law. Now that that is the case, I would hope that the Governor would take the lead in ensuring that the State’s lawyers no longer try to enforce confidentiality agreements to prevent women from testifying in sexual assault and harassment cases,” she said. “No employer should be able to stop employees from discussing discrimination or harassment or from providing relevant evidence to others. That was the point of the law the Legislature passed and the Governor signed.”
Now multi-billionaire Bloomberg is haunted by the issue of non-disclosure agreements in settlements with former female employees who sued his company and him. “We don’t have anything to hide,” Bloomberg told a TV audience last month, “But we made legal agreements which both sides wanted to keep things from coming out. They have a right to do that.”
Tonight, Massachussetts Senator Elizabeth Warren demanded that Bloomberg release female employees from non-disclosure agreements.
“We have a very few non-disclosure agreements,” Bloomberg told her in response.
“How many is that?” Warren wanted to know.
“Let me finish. None of them accused me of doing anything other than – maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,” Bloomberg said.
Weinberg tonight was unamused.
“The NDA issue was poorly handed, just to name one,” said the senate majority leader.
InsiderNJ asked Weinberg if he could properly handle it at this point.
“He can’t,” the senator said.