Who Is Michael Bloomberg?
Michael Bloomberg was born on February 14, 1942, in Boston, Massachusetts. Bloomberg put himself through Johns Hopkins and Harvard and became a partner at Salomon Brothers. He started his own company which revolutionized the distribution of financial information and made him a billionaire. Bloomberg became mayor of New York City in 2002, and he later won election to a second and a controversial third term. Afterward, the businessman and philanthropist devoted himself to combating the effects of climate change, before spending heavily in an unsuccessful attempt to claim the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
As of September 2019, Bloomberg had a reported net worth of $56 billion.
Early Life and Financial Career
Michael Rubens Bloomberg was born on February 14, 1942, in Boston, Massachusetts. The son of a bookkeeper, Bloomberg put himself through Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University, where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree in 1966. His first Wall Street job was with Salomon Brothers, where he quickly climbed the ladder, becoming partner in 1972.
When Salomon Brothers was bought in 1981, Bloomberg started his own company, Bloomberg L.P., built around a financial information computer that revolutionized the way securities data was stored and consumed. The company was enormously successful and soon branched into the media business with more than 100 offices worldwide. As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Bloomberg chose to turn his attentions to philanthropy, with an emphasis on education, medical research and the arts.
New York Mayor
Bloomberg entered the political arena in 2001, when he won election as the 108th mayor of New York. Calling himself a liberal Republican, Bloomberg said he was pro-choice and favored legalizing same-sex marriage. One of his most popular programs as mayor was establishing a 311 telephone line that put callers in contact with the city, allowing them to report crimes, trash problems or anything else. Bloomberg was re-elected mayor in November 2005.
Controversially, in 2008 Bloomberg was able to push through legislation allowing him to run for a third term as mayor, arguing that the particularly difficult economic climate and his financial skills warranted his remaining in office. After spending an unprecedented amount of his own money (upwards of $90 million) on the campaign, Bloomberg secured a third four-year term in November of 2009 — this time as an independent.
Bloomberg stepped down from his political duties in January 2014 and spent that year focusing on his philanthropic pursuits before returning as CEO of Bloomberg L.P. Democrat Bill de Blasio took his place as New York City's mayor.
2016 Presidential Consideration
During the 2016 presidential election, Bloomberg considered running as a third party independent, fearing that the candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties were too extreme and would turn off many voters, before he officially reneged on pursuing the matter in March 2016.
On July 27, 2016, Bloomberg spoke at the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton, speaking honestly about how he came to endorse her, as well as his approach to politics.
"When I enter the voting booth each time, I look at the candidate, not the party label," Bloomberg stated in his prime-time speech. "There are times when I disagree with Hillary Clinton. But let me tell you, whatever our disagreements may be, I've come here to say: We must put them aside for the good of our country. And we must unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue," he said, referring to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Although Bloomberg was unable to prevent the election of Trump, he later found solidarity among others who opposed the president's actions. After Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement in June 2017, the former mayor immediately rallied a coalition of influential leaders and announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies would provide up to $15 million in funding to make up for the loss of American resources.
In December, marking the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Bloomberg joined an all-star gathering of heads of state, environmentalists and other business leaders at the One Planet Summit in Paris. Asked if Trump's withdrawal damaged the goals of the Paris Agreement, Bloomberg seemed to believe the opposite: “The fact that President Trump has a different view has been a rallying cry for the pro-environmentalists groups. And that has been very helpful,” he said. “So I just want to thank him for all of his assistance.”
In April 2018, Bloomberg pledged $4.5 million to help cover what would have been the U.S. financial commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement for the year. According to a statement released by Bloomberg Philanthropies, its founder will continue to bankroll the pact if the U.S. does not rejoin, though Bloomberg also stated in an interview around that time that he hoped President Trump would change his mind on the matter.
In March 2019, the environmentalist announced plans to launch Beyond Carbon, an endeavor to "retire every single coal-fired power plant over the next 11 years" and to "begin moving America as quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100 percent clean energy economy."
2020 Presidential Campaign
After initially deciding against running for president in 2020, Bloomberg seemingly reversed course by filing paperwork to qualify for the Alabama primary by the November 2019 deadline. An adviser conceded that Bloomberg's late entry into the race likely precluded him from competing in the early primaries held in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, while insisting that a "broad-based, national campaign" would soon place him on even footing with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and other leading Democratic candidates.
Bloomberg formally entered the race on November 24, 2019. "Defeating Donald Trump — and rebuilding America — is the most urgent and important fight of our lives. And I’m going all in," he said in a statement. "I offer myself as a doer and a problem solver — not a talker. And someone who is ready to take on the tough fights — and win."
Bloomberg followed with an onslaught of advertising — and some well-publicized sparring with President Trump on Twitter — that enabled him to quickly make up ground in the polls. However, he experienced a hostile reception from his fellow candidates after qualifying for his first primary debate in February 2020, with Warren unloading on him for his controversial stop-and-frisk policy as mayor of New York City and his degrading comments about women.
Bloomberg continued to make his case for the Democratic nomination even after Biden's overwhelming showing in the South Carolina primary prompted fellow moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar to suspend their campaigns. However, one day after his disappointing results in the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries, with only a win in American Samoa to show for his heavy spending, Bloomberg threw in the towel and pledged his support for Biden.
The former presidential candidate resurfaced in April with the announcement that he would contribute at least $10 million to help combat the coronavirus in New York, the state hit hardest by the pandemic. According to a spokesperson for Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization was coordinating efforts with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the nonprofit Vital Strategies to hire and train some 5,000 people to test for the virus and trace its spread.
Prior to entering politics, the businessman published a memoir, Bloomberg on Bloomberg, in 1997. Twenty years later he co-authored Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, with Carl Pope. In 2019 he was the subject of a biography by journalist Eleanor Randolph, The Many Lives of Michael Bloomberg, which explores his rise from modest origins to the pinnacle of the investment banking world and his unexpected political success.
Bloomberg was married to Susan Brown from 1975 to 1993, the two remaining close friends even after their divorce. They had two daughters together, Georgina and Emma.
Since 2000 Bloomberg has been in a relationship with former New York banking superintendent Diana Taylor.
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