Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday that he would enter the Democratic Primary “to defeat Donald Trump” and “rebuild America.”
He re-posted his announcement tweet in Spanish soon after.
Previously a Republican, Bloomberg once considered running as an independent. Bloomberg, 77, served three terms as mayor, from 2002 through 2013. His successor, Bill de Blasio, already mounted a campaign for president and dropped out.
He is the co-founder and primary funder of Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for gun control measures. Bloomberg previously indicated that climate change would be his priority if he were to run.
He has already reserved $35 million in airtime for TV commercials, the New York Times reported. Bloomberg is worth an estimated $52 billion.
Bloomberg had stepped down as CEO of Bloomberg L.P, the financial services and media company he founded in the 1980s, to run for mayor of New York. He remains the majority owner of the private company, which includes divisions such as Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Professional Service, the financial data terminal that provides the bulk of the company’s revenue.
If elected, he would, like Bernie Sanders, be the first Jewish president.
Bloomberg will have a number of hurdles to jump in addition to his late entry into the primary. He has been criticized for backing the stop-and-frisk policing tactics that often targeted black and Latino men, and he has a history of making lewd remarks about women.
On Nov. 14, his press secretary issued a statement about that history to the New York Times, saying “Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong. He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”
Last Sunday, he made a speech at Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center apologizing for his policing policies and admitting, “the way it was used is racist.”