Bloomberg decides against third-party bid for White House

Bloomberg decides against third-party bid for White House

NEW YORK – The Associated Press
Bloomberg decides against third-party bid for White House

AP Photo

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said March 7 that he will not run for president, citing a concern that his independent bid would hand the White House to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

The billionaire, who has spent months mulling a third-party run that would have roiled this year’s already extraordinarily unpredictable presidential campaign, made his decision official through an editorial posted on the Bloomberg View website.

Bloomberg, in ending his third and likely final flirtation with a White House run, wrote that a three-way race could lead to no one winning a majority of electoral votes, which would send the race to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives - and, therefore, to one of the GOP front-runners.

“That is not a risk I can take in good conscience,” Bloomberg wrote.

Bloomberg was blistering in his critique of Trump, currently the GOP front-runner, saying the real estate mogul has run “the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”

He was similarly critical of Cruz, saying the Texas senator’s “pandering on immigration may lack Trump’s rhetorical excess, but it is no less extreme.”

Bloomberg acknowledged that he and Trump had been on “friendly terms” and that he had twice agreed to be on Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice.” But the former mayor said Trump’s campaign “appeals to our worst impulses.”

“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. “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.”

Bloomberg made only an oblique reference to Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and did not endorse a candidate. His aides indicated that Bloomberg may at some point offer an endorsement and use his wealth to try to influence the race, but cautioned that no decisions had been made.