Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, may be throwing his hat in the ring soon, to join the 2020 Democratic presidential race, amidst concern that the current field of candidates is ill equipped to defeat President Donald Trump.
According to reports, Bloomberg, who initially ruled out a 2020 run, has not made a final decision on whether to jump into the race.
His speculated move was quickly dismissed by Trump, who called Bloomberg, ‘Little Michael”.
“He doesn’t have the magic to do well,” Trump said of Bloomberg. “Little Michael will fail.”
“He’s not going to do well but I think he’s going to hurt Biden actually,” Trump told reporters. “There’s nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael.”
The 77-year-old Bloomberg has spent the past few weeks talking with prominent Democrats about the state of the 2020 field, expressing concerns about the steadiness of former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign and the rise of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to people with knowledge of those discussions.
In recent days, he took steps to keep his options open, including moving to get on the primary ballot in Alabama ahead of the state’s Friday filing deadline.
In a statement on Thursday, Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson said the former mayor believes Trump “represents an unprecedented threat to our nation” and must be defeated.
“But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” Wolfson said.
Bloomberg’s moves come as the Democratic race enters a crucial phase. Biden’s front-runner status has been vigorously challenged by Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who are flush with cash from small-dollar donors. But both are viewed by some Democrats as too liberal to win in a general election face-off with Trump.
Despite a historically large field, some Democrats anxious about defeating Trump have been looking for other options. Former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick have quietly had conversations with supporters urging them to consider a run, but neither appears likely to get in the race.
Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent who registered as a Democrat last year, has flirted with a presidential run before but ultimately backed down, including in 2016. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in that race and, in a speech at the Democratic Party convention, pummelled Trump as a con who has oversold his business successes.