New York, Mar 8: Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, has said that he will not run for the post of US president as an independent candidate, citing his fear that a three-way race could lead to the election of a candidate like Donald Trump who he thinks would endanger the country.
"As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience," Bloomberg wrote in an op-ed yesterday.
The 74-year-old billionaire businessman had in February publicly announced the idea of leading a third-party campaign. Blomberg slammed Trump, 69, for running a decisive campaign. "I have known Mr Trump casually for many years, and we have always been on friendly terms. I even agreed to appear on 'The Apprentice' twice," he said.
"But he has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people's prejudices and fears," Bloomberg, the three-term mayor of New York and founder of financial titan Bloomberg, said. "Threatening to bar foreign Muslims from entering the country is a direct assault on two of the core values that gave rise to our nation: religious tolerance and the separation of church and state," he alleged.
"Attacking and promising to deport millions of Mexicans, feigning ignorance of white supremacists, and threatening China and Japan with a trade war are all dangerously wrong, too," he said.
"These moves would divide us at home and compromise our moral leadership around the world. 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 said.
Bloomberg was similarly critical of Ted Cruz, saying the Texas senator's "pandering on immigration may lack Trumps rhetorical excess, but it is no less extreme".
His refusal to oppose banning foreigners based on their religion may be less bombastic than Trump's position, but it is no less divisive, he said.
"We cannot 'make America great again' by turning our backs on the values that made us the world's greatest nation in the first place. I love our country too much to play a role in electing a candidate who would weaken our unity and darken our future -- and so I will not enter the race for president of the United States," he said.
"However, nor will I stay silent about the threat that partisan extremism poses to our nation. I am not ready to endorse any candidate, but I 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," Bloomberg wrote.