Michael Bloomberg is not running for president in 2016, saying he believes that his third-party candidacy would deliver the White House to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump campaign dismisses Dem attacks as ‘night of empty rhetoric’ Obama makes case for Clinton to succeed him FULL SPEECH: President Obama at the Democratic convention MORE or Ted CruzTed CruzGrassroots battling establishment on trade at conventions Fixing the disastrous nomination process Attacking Trump for the few sensible things he says is bad strategy MORE.
In an editorial on his Bloomberg Politics website on Monday, the former New York City mayor, who has been laying the groundwork to run as an independent, acknowledged that he didn’t see a path to the White House.
“When I look at the data, it’s clear to me that if I entered the race, I could not win,” Bloomberg wrote. “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.”
“As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz,” Bloomberg said. “That is not a risk I can take in good conscience.”
Bloomberg has been conducting private polling to determine how his candidacy might be received, and his operatives have been scrambling to ensure that the nuts and bolts of the process — qualifying to appear on ballots, for instance — would be taken care of if he ran.
Media reports indicated that Bloomberg would have been willing to spend up to $1 billion of his own fortune to fund his third-party bid for president. A financial services entrepreneur, Bloomberg is worth an estimated $36.5 billion.
He began publicly considering an independent run as Trump and Cruz rose to the top of the Republican field and as Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders signs autographs as Clinton makes surprise showing on stage Obama makes case for Clinton to succeed him FULL SPEECH: President Obama at the Democratic convention MORE gained traction in his challenge to Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSanders signs autographs as Clinton makes surprise showing on stage Coincidence? Obama spoke for 44 minutes, Clinton for 42 First lady praises Obama speech: 'That's my man!’ MORE on the Democratic side.
Clinton has since firmed up her grasp on the race and appears poised to become the Democratic presidential nominee.
Bloomberg is taking himself out of the equation in hopes that Clinton can defeat either Trump or Cruz.
In his announcement, Bloomberg hammered Trump, the longtime GOP front-runner who is the favorite to win the party’s nomination.
While acknowledging that he has “been on friendly terms” with Trump for years and that he appeared on Trump's reality TV show “The Apprentice” twice, Bloomberg said the celebrity real estate mogul had “run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign" he could recall.
"Trump appeals to our worst impulses,” Bloomberg said.
He accused the candidate of “preying on people’s prejudices and fears,” citing his rhetoric about illegal immigrants crossing the southern U.S. border, his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country, his “feigning ignorance of white supremacists,” and his “threatening China and Japan with a trade war.”
“These moves would divide us at home and compromise our moral leadership around the world,” Bloomberg wrote. “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.”
Bloomberg also had choice words for Cruz, saying that while his “pandering on immigration may lack Trump’s rhetorical excess,” he is “no less extreme.”
“We cannot ‘make America great again’ by turning our backs on the values that made us the world’s greatest nation in the first place,” Bloomberg concluded. “I love our country too much to play a role in electing a candidate who would weaken our unity and darken our future — and so I will not enter the race for president of the United States.”
Still, Bloomberg vowed to play a role in 2016.
He said he is not ready to endorse any candidate but will “continue urging all voters to reject divisive appeals and demanding that candidates offer intelligent, specific and realistic ideas for bridging divides, solving problems, and giving us the honest and capable government we deserve.”
Updated at 5:54 p.m.