Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday he will not enter the race for U.S. president.
In an online column in which he announced his decision, Bloomberg wrote that he decided not to enter the race because it was clear that he could not win.
“Over the last several months, many Americans have urged me to run for president as an independent, and some who don’t like the current candidates have said it is my patriotic duty to do so. I appreciate their appeals, and I have given the question serious consideration. The deadline to answer it is now, because of ballot access requirements,” he wrote.
“When I look at the data,” explained the former mayor, “it’s clear to me that if I entered the race, I could not win. I believe I could win a number of diverse states — but not enough to win the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win the presidency.”
Bloomberg further wrote that “there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz” and added “that is not a risk I can take in good conscience.”
He added that while he is on friendly terms with Trump, “he has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears…Trump appeals to our worst impulses.”
“Threatening to bar foreign Muslims from entering the country is a direct assault on two of the core values that gave rise to our nation: religious tolerance and the separation of church and state. Attacking and promising to deport millions of Mexicans, feigning ignorance of white supremacists, and threatening China and Japan with a trade war are all dangerously wrong, too. These moves would divide us at home and compromise our moral leadership around the world. The end result would be to embolden our enemies, threaten the security of our allies, and put our own men and women in uniform at greater risk,” warned Bloomberg.
Bloomberg's announcement that he will not run for president comes a month after he told the Financial Times he was considering a run for president and was “looking at all the options”.
Earlier, sources close to the Jewish billionaire said he was “seriously considering” a presidential bid on an independent ballot and would be willing to spend $1 billion of his personal funds in the campaign.
Trump said at the time he would be “very happy” if Bloomberg entered the race, though Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders slammed the prospect, saying it would confirm that the United States was “moving away from democracy to oligarchy”.