Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, jumped into the U.S. presidential race on Sunday, adding another moderate voice to a crowded field of Democratic contenders seeking to face Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.
The move represents an about-face for Bloomberg, 77, who had said in March that he would not make a run for the White House.
“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions,” said Bloomberg, 77, a media mogul who founded Bloomberg LP.
Bloomberg’s candidacy presents a late challenge to the pack of Democratic contenders near the top in opinion polls – fellow centrists Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president, and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and prominent liberal U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Bloomberg has been critical of anti-Wall Street crusader Warren and her plan to tax the super wealthy to pay for programs ranging from universal healthcare to free college tuition. He will compete with Biden and Buttigieg to become the moderate alternative to the liberal agendas of Warren and Sanders.
Ranked by Forbes as the eighth-richest American with an estimated worth of $53.4 billion, Bloomberg will have the advantage of being able to self-finance his campaign and pour millions of dollars into advertising and hiring staff.
Bloomberg had filed paperwork on Thursday with the U.S. Federal Election Commission to run for president.