Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign aftera poor performance on Super Tuesdayand will endorse Joe Biden.
What he’s saying:“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
“I’ve known Joe for a very long time. I know his decency, his honesty, and his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country – including gun safety, health care, climate change, and good jobs.”
The state of play:Bloomberg opted to skip campaigning in early states, staking his candidacy on a string of Super Tuesday victories to launch him to frontrunner status, but that plan was ultimately felled bythe resurgence of Joe Biden’s campaign.
Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both exited the race between the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday and chose to back Biden — along with Beto O’Rourke.
On Super Tuesday, Biden scored surprise victories in states like Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota — and racked up huge wins across the South.
While Bloomberg was viable in multiple states, he didn’t win any — and his only victory was in the territory of American Samoa.
Bloomberg and Biden spoke on the phone on Wednesday, according to a Bloomberg campaign official.
The big picture:Bloomberg’s self-funding drew backlash from an increasingly progressive party that is skeptical of the role of big money in politics. Bloomberg was one of two billionaires in the race, joined by Tom Steyer, who dropped out over the weekend.
Bloomberg’s record as mayor of New York City drew controversy, particularly hissupport of stop-and-frisk. He apologized for the policy in November, acknowledging that it unfairly targeted people of color.
He also faced an ethical conflict related to his ownership of Bloomberg News. The eponymous founder refused to allow his company’s journalism arm to investigate him as a candidate, forcing it to extend thatpolicy to all 2020 Democrats.
Bloomberg movedto directly take on President Trump from the start of his run. Both campaigns took out60-second ad slotsduring the Super Bowl, and Bloomberg became a repeated target of Trump’s tweets.
Trump gave Bloomberg a signature nickname — “Mini Mike” — andsaidhe “is going nowhere, just wasting his money.”
After Bloomberg dropped out, Trumptweetedthat he “could have told him long ago that he didn’t have what it takes, and he would have saved himself a billion dollars, the real cost. Now he will pour money into Sleepy Joe’s campaign, hoping to save face. It won’t work!”
What’s next:Bloomberghas pledgedto pay his massive staff to continue to work through November to support whoever becomes the eventual Democratic nominee.