PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Bloomberg, elected mayor of New York City as a Republican, will offer a forceful denunciation of fellow New York billionaire Donald Trump on Wednesday at the Democratic convention.
Now a political independent, Bloomberg considered making a third-party run for president this year before opting against a campaign, expressing worry he would siphon away votes from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and inadvertently help elect Trump.
Members of the former mayor’s staff said Bloomberg, one of the nation’s richest individuals, will lay out in his convention address why a Trump administration would be disastrous for the nation’s economy.
A three-term mayor who left office in 2013, Bloomberg has been sharply critical of Trump. He wrote in March that the real estate mogul has run “the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”
While in office, Bloomberg had a cordial relationship with Clinton, who, as a senator from New York, was involved in the city’s post-9/11 rebuilding effort. He did, too, with Trump, who he knew from New York’s glitzy social circuit and from dealings with him as a developer.
But Trump’s hardline approach to immigration alienated Bloomberg, who often makes the case an open immigration policy is needed to keep the nation’s economy growing.
Bloomberg has also become arguably the nation’s leading gun-control advocate, spending millions of his own fortune to finance candidates and groups that call for the restriction of firearms. Trump, meanwhile, has courted the support of the National Rifle Association, a pro-gun lobbying group that frequently criticizes Bloomberg.
The Clinton campaign believes that Bloomberg’s appearance, scheduled in a prime-time slot, shows the breadth of support for the ex-secretary of state and will vouch for her “steady hand” on economic and national security issues.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to have somebody like the mayor signify the broad amount of support that Hillary Clinton has earned over the course of this campaign,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.
Bloomberg, worth an estimated $47 billion, is the founder of the financial news and information provider Bloomberg LP. He was a political novice when he launched an unlikely bid for mayor in 2001. Largely a social liberal but a fiscal conservative, he served for 12 years, overseeing a gilded age in the nation’s largest city even as the gap between its rich and poor grew.