Billionaire and former New York City mayor, 77 year old Michael Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men, has formally launched a Democratic bid for US president in the 2020 election. This is coming about 10 weeks before the primary voting begins.
The former Republican announced his candidacy today, November 24 in a written statement posted on a campaign website, describing himself as uniquely positioned to defeat President Donald Trump.
He declared: “I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Mr Bloomberg wrote.
“We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions,” he continued.
“He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”
Bloomberg’s entrance is considered as an unorthodox move that reflects anxiety within the Democratic Party about the strength of its current candidates.
As a centrist with deep ties to Wall Street, Bloomberg is expected to struggle among the party’s energized progressive base.
He became a Democrat only last year but yet his tremendous resources and moderate profile could be appealing in a primary contest that has become, above all, a quest to find the person best-positioned to deny Mr Trump a second term next November.
Forbes ranked Bloomberg as the 11th-richest person in the world last year with a net worth of roughly 50 billion dollars (£39 billion).
President Trump, by contrast, was ranked 259th with a net worth of just over three billion dollars (£2.3 billion).
He did not say how much he would be willing to spend overall on his presidential ambitions, but senior adviser Howard Wolfson did say: “Whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump.”
Wolfson also said that Mr Bloomberg would not accept a single political donation for his campaign or take a salary should he become president.
Even before the announcement was final, Democratic rivals like Bernie Sanders pounced on Mr Bloomberg’s plans to rely on his personal fortune.
“I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy elections,” Mr Sanders tweeted on Friday.
Elizabeth Warren, another leading progressive candidate, also attacked Mr Bloomberg on Saturday for trying to buy the presidency.
“I understand that rich people are going to have more shoes than the rest of us, they’re going to have more cars than the rest of us, they’re going to have more houses,” she said after a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“But they don’t get a bigger share of democracy, especially in a Democratic primary. We need to be doing the face-to-face work that lifts every voice.”
Bloomberg does not speak in his announcement video, which casts him as a successful businessman who came from humble roots and ultimately “put his money where his heart is” to effect change on the top policy issues of the day – gun violence, climate change, immigration and equality, among them.