Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he has officially re-registered as a Democrat, in what some see as a possible signal of his interest in a presidential bid.
“At key points in U.S. history, one of the two parties has served as a bulwark against those who threaten our Constitution. Two years ago at the Democratic Convention, I warned of those threats,” he shared in a post on Instagram and Twitter.
“Today, I have re-registered as a Democrat-- I had been a member for most of my life-- because we need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs,” he said.
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Just what Bloomberg might be saying about a run for the White House was unclear, though, and his office did not immeidately respond tp a request for a comment.
Wednesday's Instagram post follows a report in The Times of London last month that Bloomberg has decided he will run against Donald Trump in 2020.
Bloomberg has come out strong against President Trump since the 2016 campaign, calling him a “dangerous demagogue,” and “risky, reckless and radical choice,” in his 2016 DNC endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Earl Gibson III/Getty Images, FILEHillary Clinton and Bill Clinton look over the crowd of delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention-Day 4 at Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016, in Philadelphia, Penn.
He’s condemned the Trump administration in his namesake philanthropy’s annual report, saying Washington’s “direct assault on facts and data is making it harder for America to address major challenges here and around the world.”
Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty ImagesDonald Trump speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016.
Trump hasn’t been shy about going after Bloomberg, either. Following Bloomberg’s DNC speech, Trump said at a July 2016 rally in Iowa, “I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy,” he said, referring to Bloomberg. He later sent out a few tweets, calling Bloomberg’s previous term as mayor a disaster and saying if he ran again “he wouldn’t get 10% of the vote.”
"Little" Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as Mayor was a disaster!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2016
If Michael Bloomberg ran again for Mayor of New York, he wouldn't get 10% of the vote - they would run him out of town! #NeverHillary
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2016
That contradicted his 2012 view of Bloomberg.
Mike Bloomberg is doing a great job as Mayor of New York City. Ray Kelly is a great Police Commissioner. @MikeBloomberg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2012
Bloomberg was a Democrat until his 2001 mayoral run where he registered as a Republican to succeed Trump's now-lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He spoke to a sizable crowd at the Republican National Convention in 2004, where he and the Bush administration got into a behind the scenes spat about Bloomberg’s speech, in which he wanted to criticize the then-red Congress for its handling of funds after 9/11. His name was even briefly removed from the list of speakers, then re-added once he agreed to remove that portion of his speech.
He served two terms as a Republican mayor, then registered as an Independent in 2007 prior to his third term in 2009.
He has danced with the idea of presidential runs in every cycle since 2008, but instead spent millions in supporting largely Democratic candidates. He certainly has the means to do a decent amount of self-funding -- he’s worth $48.1 billion according to Forbes.
This cycle alone Bloomberg has already pledged up to $100 million to the Democratic Party. He partnered with the main Democratic Senate super PAC, committing $80 million to firmly cement his Democratic stance. The billionaire’s individual super PAC, Independence USA, has spent over $4 million on House candidates in moderate, suburban races.
The Trump campaign has acknowledged the potential threat from Bloomberg in 2020. Corey Lewandowski, the president’s former campaign manager, told the Christian Science Monitor Bloomberg is the “only one” who could compete with Trump in the future, citing his outsider status, history of job creation and nearly endless-funds.
In 2016, Giuliani, who endorsed Bloomberg before his mayoral runs in 2000, said in a Fox Business interview that he should run against Clinton in 2016 to embolden more progressive candidates.
Bloomberg’s history of flip-flopping parties has fixated him as a left-leaning centrist, which runs the risk of alienating a far liberal base. He’s alienated NYC liberals in the past, defending a “stop-and-frisk” policy. He’s also questioned eight allegations of sexual assault against news anchor Charlie Rose.
At the DNC in 2016, he urged Democrats to open their minds to the possibilities of private funding, saying their opposition to private funding stands “in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction.”
He’s also called out Republicans when it comes to anti-immigration policies and their opposition to gun control. His 501C, Everytown for Gun Safety, was an active spender in the 2016 cycle.