- Republican turned independent will speak in prime time
- Cited risk of helping Trump as reason not to run himself
Michael Bloomberg will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, a timely boost as the candidate prepares to accept her party’s nomination for president.
“As the nation’s leading independent and a pragmatic business leader Mike has supported candidates from both sides of the aisle,” said Howard Wolfson, an adviser to Bloomberg and a former spokesman for Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “This week in Philadelphia he will make a strong case that the clear choice in this election is Hillary Clinton.”
The endorsement from the former mayor of New York City could resonate with swing voters and Republicans who haven’t warmed to their party’s nominee, Donald Trump.
Bloomberg, 74, has been critical of fellow New York billionaire Trump and earlier this year mulled an independent run for the White House.
In a March 7 column explaining his decision not to proceed, Bloomberg cited the risk that he might inadvertently help Trump or Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who at the time was still vying for the Republican nomination, become president.
“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 wrote then, criticizing Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S., threats of a trade wars, and “preying on people’s prejudices and fears.” Cruz, he wrote, was also “divisive.”
There was no immediate reaction from the Trump campaign on Sunday.
“Given her demographic targets, Bloomberg is good get for @HillaryClinton,” David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns, said on Twitter.
It may not sit as well with supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary opponent, who has railed against “the enormous political power of the billionaire class.”
Bloomberg endorsed Obama, a Democrat, for re-election in 2012, highlighting the issue of climate change as well as abortion rights and marriage equality. He didn’t endorse in the 2008 election, and backed Republican George W. Bush in 2004.
Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. He was elected New York mayor as a Republican in 2001 and 2005, and to a third term as an independent. Bloomberg was a member of the Democratic Party before 2001.
The news of Bloomberg’s endorsement was first reported by The New York Times.