A Knighted Bloomberg Decrees Bush and Clinton Worthy Candidates

NYT FDMaureen Dowd April 9, 2015

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Good Thursday morning from Washington, where President Obama has left town for Jamaica, and the White House has been having a bit of fun at Benjamin Netanyahu’s expense. Senator Rand Paul has been a little testy in his first day as a real presidential candidate, while Gov. Chris Christie’s charm offensive is falling flat in New Jersey. And a newly knighted Michael R. Bloomberg, who seems to be enjoying life after politics, tells us how he really feels about becoming London’s next mayor.

Michael R. Bloomberg beamed when Joanna Coles, the silver-haired British editor of Cosmopolitan, said she might like to borrow his lovely “necklace.”

But there was no way he was taking off the bling. The supreme Anglophile received a supreme honor from Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday: an honorary knighthood.

At a formal investiture ceremony at the British ambassador’s residence in Washington, the ambassador, Peter Westmacott, presented the former New York mayor with the insignia marking him as a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

The queen smiled down from an Andy Warhol silk-screen.

And Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Colin Powell, Tina Brown and Harold Evans were on hand for the lunch of 2008 Meursault, cheese soufflé, roasted flounder, and chocolate and mint parfait, as were Mr. Bloomberg’s girlfriend, Diana Taylor; his British former wife, Susan; his daughters, Emma and Georgina, who are British citizens; and his baby grandson.

“Back in New York,” Mr. Bloomberg told the guests, “a good friend of mine — this is a friend of long standing — he said to me that this is only a honorary knighthood, and it doesn’t make me either a knight or a commander, nor does it come with a title ‘sir,’ and I said to him, ‘Well, thank you, Sir Paul McCartney.’ ”

But the 73-year-old billionaire was clearly delighted, calling the honor “as good as it gets.”

“I’ve always admired the sophistication and fortitude of the British people,” he said.

Even though he is building two giant bronze-and-stone towers in London on the site of the ruins of a Roman temple to house his company and charity, and has become a patron of the arts there, he denied a report in The Sunday Times of London that he wants to run for mayor, succeeding Boris Johnson, whom he describes as “a kindred spirit.”

“Zero chance, zero interest,” he said flatly.

When asked what he thought of the growing field of presidential candidates, Mr. Bloomberg was equally definite. “Hillary and Jeb are the only two who know how to make the trains run,” he said, to get people back to work.

With that, the knight of Gotham went back to showing off his new necklace.