Michael Bloomberg says he is considering running for president of the United States
It's a move that would dramatically shake up an already chaotic 2016 race
In an interview with Financial Times, the media mogul and former New York City mayor said he was “looking at all the options” when asked about a possible bid.
“I’m listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing,” Bloomberg said, adding that he would need to add his name on ballots by early March in order to stage a serious campaign.
The billionaire also issued his most damning indictment of the current campaigns to date.
“I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters,” Bloomberg told the Financial Times, adding that the public deserved “a lot better.”
Bloomberg’s interview, which marks the first time the billionaire has confirmed that he is eyeing a presidential bid, took place in London and focused primarily on financial sustainability, a source with knowledge of the interview told CNN.
It wasn’t until the end of the interview that the reporter, Oliver Ralph, asked the former mayor if he was considering running for president.
“What Bloomberg told (the Financial Times) is what he’s been saying privately for weeks,” the source said.
The New York Times reported last month that he was considering a plan to run as an independent because he was troubled by Donald Trump’s success on the Republican side, and Hillary Clinton’s inability to stanch Bernie Sanders’ growth on the Democratic side.
Both Trump and Sanders currently have wide leads over their respective rivals in New Hampshire, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday. Trump and Sanders also had strong second-place showings in the Iowa caucuses last week.
Bloomberg would run as a moderate promising to bring compromise and business savvy to an election characterized by highly charged disputes and political partisanship.
Bloomberg is seen as a pragmatist and fiscal conservative who has taken liberal positions on issues like gun control and the environment.
With a $39 billion fortune, Bloomberg is expected to self-fund his campaign and would likely spend north of $1 billion to do it.