In some of his most revealing comments on why he decided against running for president, moderate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg cited his age -- but also took aim at the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
"To start a four-year job, or maybe an eight-year job, at age 79 may not be the smartest thing to do. But if I think if I thought I could win, I would have,” the 77-year-old billionaire media mogul explained.
“I just couldn't see a path to where I could get the nomination,” Bloomberg said Thursday while speaking at the Bermuda Executive Forum in New York City. “It's just not going to happen on a national level for somebody like me starting where I am unless I was willing to change all my views and go on what CNN called 'an apology tour.'”
While he’s poured millions of his own money into combating climate change and battling gun violence, the Democrat turned Republican turned independent who last year re-registered as a Democrat suggested that he was simply more moderate than the ever-growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, many of whom are increasingly moving to the left.
Pointing to 76-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s likely to jump into the White House race next month, Bloomberg said, "Joe Biden went out and apologized for being male, over 50, white.”
“He apologized for the one piece of legislation which is actually a pretty good anti-crime bill, which if the liberals ever read it, most of the things they like would be in that bill. They should have loved that. But they didn't even bother to read it. You're anti-crime, you must be anti-populist,” Bloomberg added.
Bloomberg was referring to the efforts Biden has made to cast himself as "progressive," even recently backtracking on calling Vice President Pence a "decent" person after liberal actress Cynthia Nixon complained.
The former New York mayor also jabbed at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who last week declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination and quickly raised an eye-popping $6.1 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate.
"And so everybody else, Beto, whatever his name is, he's apologized for being born,” said Bloomberg, which brought laughter from the audience. “I mean, I don't mean to be unkind. And a lot of people love him and say he's a smart guy, and some day if he wins I'd certainly support him."
O'Rourke has recently apologized for joking that his wife raised their kids "sometimes with my help," and also has accepted criticism that he's enjoyed white privilege.
Bloomberg seriously considered launching a presidential bid, and earlier this year he made campaign-style swings through the early voting primary and caucus states. But he announced on March 5 that he would not run for the White House.