(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
NEW YORK (JTA) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will not run for president in the 2016 race.
The billionaire media magnate, who is Jewish and had been exploring the possibility of running as an independent, announced in an opinion column published Monday afternoon that he will stay out of the race because he does not believe he can win and fears a three-way race could benefit Republican front-runner Donald Trump or Trump’s rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Bloomberg’s announcement, headlined “The Risk I Will Not Take,” appeared on BloombergView.
Bloomberg, 74, wrote that Trump has run “the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”
“Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our ‘better angels.’ Trump appeals to our worst impulses,” he said.
Bloomberg specifically cited Trump’s threat to bar Muslims from entering the United States, his promise “to deport millions of Mexicans” and his “feigning ignorance of David Duke,” the former Ku Klux Klan leader whose endorsement Trump took days to reject unequivocally.
“These moves would divide us at home and compromise our moral leadership around the world,” Bloomberg wrote. “The end result would be to embolden our enemies, threaten the security of our allies, and put our own men and women in uniform at greater risk.”
Bloomberg also criticized Cruz, saying his “pandering on immigration may lack Trump’s rhetorical excess, but is no less extreme.”
The ex-mayor concluded that he is “not ready to endorse any candidate,” but “will continue urging all voters to reject divisive appeals and demanding that candidates offer intelligent, specific and realistic ideas for bridging divides, solving problems, and giving us the honest and capable government we deserve.”
In February, Bloomberg confirmed rumors that he was considering a presidential run and would spend up to $1 billion of his own money.
Bloomberg won the inaugural $1 million Genesis Generation Challenge in 2014 for “engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel.” His charity, Bloomberg Philanthropies, has provided $1.5 million to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in urban innovation grants.
Bloomberg made his fortune, now valued at approximately $40 billion, from the media and financial data company he founded, Bloomberg L.P.
He served as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013. While elected as a Republican, he became an Independent in 2007.