Bloomberg confirms mulling a presidential bid

Former New York Mayor tells Financial Times he is looking at all the options when it comes to a possible presidential bid.

Ben Ariel ,

Michael Bloomberg in Jerusalem
Michael Bloomberg in Jerusalem
Flash 90

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday confirmed for the first time that he is considering a run for president.

Speaking to the Financial Times newspaper, Bloomberg criticized the quality of the debate in the ​presidential ​race. He said ​that ​he was “looking at all the options” when asked whether he was considering putting his name forward.

Last month, sources close to the Jewish billionaire said he was “seriously considering” a presidential bid on an independent ballot and would be willing to spend $1 billion of his personal funds in the campaign.

In the interview with the Financial Times on Monday, Bloomberg said, “I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters.” He then added that the American public deserved “a lot better”.

Bloomberg added that he would need to start putting his name on ballots at the beginning of March if he chose to run.

“I’m listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing,” he said.

Bloomberg’s entry would radically affect the election, which has already been upended by the anti-establishment campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the newspaper noted.

Many experts believe that Bloomberg would help the Republican nominee by drawing more support from Democrats over Republicans because of his liberal stance on issues such as gun control and the environment.

Highlighting the steep climb that Bloomberg ​would ​probably ​face, a poll conducted by his own news organization and the Des Moines Register ahead of the Iowa caucuses found that only nine percent of Republicans had a favorable view of him, while 17 percent of likely Democratic voters in the state ​had a favorable opinion.

According to the Financial Times, Bloomberg reportedly also has reservations about the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has dismissed the threat of his possible candidacy by arguing that he would only ​enter ​the race if she was not the Democratic nominee.

The 73-year-old Bloomberg has long been a staunch supporter of Israel, although no Independent has ever become president of the United States. He formerly was a Democrat before switching to being a Republican and then going Independent, and he previously raised speculation in 2008 and 2012 over potential campaigns.

Trump ​has said he would be “very happy” if Bloomberg entered the race, while Sanders ​has ​slammed the prospect, saying it would confirm that the United States was “moving away from democracy to oligarchy”. ​