US 2020: Rhode Island governor backs Michael Bloomberg for president

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a campaign rally at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg snagged his first endorsement from a governor on Wednesday, as Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo called him the right leader to take on President Donald Trump.

Raimondo, a longtime political ally of Bloomberg’s, was due to appear with him at a morning event in Providence to officially endorse him, the Bloomberg campaign told The Associated Press. Raimondo will also act as a national campaign co-chair.

“Mike is a problem-solver with a long track record of delivering results, and I’m proud to stand with him today,” Raimondo said in a written statement provided by the campaign. “From fighting gun violence, to addressing climate change, to combating the opioid crisis and more, Mike understands the issues that impact our lives every day. We cannot risk another four years of President Trump’s destructive policies, and I know that Mike is the right leader to take him on.”

Raimondo was among the prominent Democrats to whom Bloomberg’s team reached out before the news broke in November that he was considering a 2020 White House run. At the time, she was head of the Democratic Governors Association and held back from endorsing him, but she praised his record and called him a friend.

The two have known each other since 2010, when Bloomberg was the independent mayor of New York City and Raimondo first ran for public office to be general treasurer. Raimondo, a former venture capitalist, called Bloomberg her political idol during that campaign. Later, Bloomberg backed Raimondo’s gubernatorial aspirations when she ran and won in 2014, becoming the state’s first female governor.

She told The Providence Journal in December that Bloomberg’s candidacy was “a long shot” and that “it is a hard time in this age of income inequality for a Democrat to be a billionaire.” But she also praised Bloomberg’s record and called him “the American dream,” having grown up the son of a bookkeeper in a suburb of Boston.

Bloomberg launched his campaign in late November, saying he wanted to “defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America.”

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