Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joins 2020 US presidential race

24 November 2019, 19:25

Michael Bloomberg joined the 2020 US presidential race
Michael Bloomberg joined the 2020 US presidential race. Picture: PA

Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has formally launched a Democratic bid to become the next President of the USA.

Mr Bloomberg's written statement posted on a campaign website ends weeks of speculation about whether or not the 77-year-old would run for office.

The former mayor, who is one of the richest men in the world, described himself as being uniquely positioned to defeat President Donald Trump.

Following the announcement, the businessman plans to swiftly enact an advertising campaign that will flood key primary states across the US.

"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 represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage."

The revelation comes just 10 weeks before primary voting - the process of electing the next Democratic candidate - begins.

Mr Bloomberg's move reflects anxiety within the Democratic Party about the strength of the current crop of nominees and is unorthodox in how little notice he has given voters before the primaries.

The businessman and philanthropist is a key figure on Wall Street and is considered a centrist, a position that may struggle to win over the party's progressive and left-leaning base.

However his time as mayor, time in the public eye and tremendous resources could help him in a presidential race against Donald Trump.

His net worth was ranked by Forbes at $50 billion (£39 billion), far ahead of Mr Trump who is worth $3 billion (£2.3 billion). He was also ranked the 11th richest man in the world, compared to Trump who was 259th.

The former New York Mayor's senior adviser Howard Wolfson said Mr Bloomberg would spend "whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump."

Mr Wolfson added the businessman would not take a salary should he become president and would refuse to accept a single political donation for his campaign.

Democratic rival Bernie Sanders criticised the move before it was formalised, saying a candidate shouldn't rely on their personal fortune to win the race.

"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."

Some of the key issues Mr Bloomberg pledges to tackle are gun violence, climate change, immigration and equality.