Former New York Mayor Bloomberg to resign from the 2020 White House bid and focus on climate change

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, USA, January 21, 2019. REUTERS / Allison Shelley

By James Oliphant

(Reuters) – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not seek the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in 2020, but will instead launch an effort aimed at combating climate change, he said on Tuesday.

A billionaire who could have invested millions of his own dollars in a campaign, Bloomberg had publicly toyed with running and has become a vocal critic of Republican President Donald Trump. He spent millions of dollars last year to help Democrats regain control of the US House of Representatives in congressional elections and has invested in advocating for radical gun control laws.

Bloomberg, 77, made his 2020 announcement in an op-ed on the site of Bloomberg News, the company he runs.

He said he was aware of the difficulty of prevailing in the Democratic Party nomination primary process, especially given the party’s shift to the left in recent years.

“I think he would defeat Donald Trump in a general election,” Bloomberg wrote. “But my eyes are clear on the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”

A former Republican and independent, Bloomberg reportedly ran as a more moderate candidate among the progressives who currently dominate the 12-member field, which so far consists primarily of sitting US senators.

“Many people have urged me to run,” he wrote. “Some have told me that to win the Democratic nomination, I would need to change my point of view to even the polls.”

Any path to the Bloomberg nomination would have been complicated by the entry of former Vice President Joe Biden, another moderate, into the race. Biden has said that he will soon decide whether to race.

Other potential candidates such as US Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and former US Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas are also considering participating.

CLIMATE PUSH

Instead of running, Bloomberg said he would use his enormous personal fortune, estimated at more than $ 50 billion, to launch a new climate change push, Beyond Carbon, with the goal of moving the country away from fossil fuels and closer to sources clean energy.

Bloomberg already supports another effort, Beyond Coal, dedicated to shutting down coal-fired power plants. In 2014, the United Nations designated him as the first special envoy for cities and climate change to work with cities globally to combat global warming.

He has criticized Trump as a “climate denier” for pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

“I have found that I am less interested in talking than in doing,” wrote Bloomberg. “And I’ve come to the conclusion that, for now, the best way to help our country is to roll up my sleeves and keep working.”

Bloomberg also founded Everytown for Gun Safety, the nonprofit advocacy group originally known as Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which has focused on requiring universal background checks for the purchase of firearms.

The group has endorsed candidates for public office who support universal controls and argued against those who oppose them, as well as backing state gun control initiatives.

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