A clip posted to Twitter by former Congressional candidate and Barack Obama staffer Christopher J. Hale captures Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg shaking a dog's mouth.
Given Hale's response to the clip, he doesn't appear impressed with the billionaire's interaction with the dog. But in a follow-up tweet, he acknowledged the mixture of reactions to the video, noting that some believe he is misrepresenting "very legal and very cool human-dog interactions."
Needless to say, the reactions were particularly polarized.
"That is just very weird," one user said.
"Major cringe as someone who's had dogs for many, many years," another chimed in.
Conversely, Bloomberg's defenders suggested that he was simply playing affectionately with the dog.
"That's called playing, not nose shaking," one defender said.
"I don't even like Bloomberg, but this is endearing as hell," another wrote.
Bloomberg's campaign has been controversial in many respects. He jumped into the presidential race late and has decided to focus his vast resources on the Super Tuesday states as opposed to the early states, Politico reported. The decision pushed some — like Bernie Sanders — to accuse Bloomberg of buying his way into the election.
Given his vast wealth, the 77-year-old has also faced criticism of being out of touch.
"He once advised New Yorkers snowed in during a blizzard in 2010 to take in a Broadway show," Politico reported. "He fired a $27,000-a-year aide whom he caught playing solitaire on his computer during work hours, saying it was 'not appropriate behavior.'"Bloomberg also changed New York City law during his time as mayor to give himself the choice of running for a third term, which he did. Nevertheless, he reverted the policy back to two terms for his successors.
Writing for Vanity Fair, Eric Lutz noted the former mayor's decision to speak privately with some of Silicon Valley's biggest names. He added that the outreach will likely "reinforce the perception that Bloomberg is out of touch" with the Democratic Party, as well as average Americans.
Lutz noted that Silicon Valley's unchecked power has become a target for Democrats, and social media platforms have are under the spotlight from progressives for spreading false and misleading information. He also pointed to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and reports of his increased coziness with Donald Trump and other conservatives that have opposed Democratic calls for breaking up big tech companies.
Although Lutz believes Bloomberg's outreach may appeal to some "centrist" and "big-business" Democrats, he claims that it will come back to harm him down the line.