Photo of Michael Bloomberg

Remarks in Norfolk, Virginia: "Why I'm Running for President"

November 25, 2019

Thank you, and good afternoon everyone. It's great to be here in Norfolk!

And let me start by saying I was glad to support Nancy's campaign for the House of Delegates. She's going to be a strong leader on the big issues facing this community, and the whole state – including climate change.

I'm happy to also say that I supported 14 other Virginia Democrats who also won election – thanks to the good work of so many volunteers and supporters who knocked on doors and made phone calls and got voters to the polls. And in January, Democrats will take charge of the state government for the first time in 25 years. It's about time.

In 2018, I also supported two congressional candidates here in Virginia who won: Jennifer Wexton and Elaine Luria, who represents this part of the area and the surrounding place. Their strong campaigns helped the Democrats capture the U.S. House of Representatives – and begin holding President Trump accountable for his dangerous abuse of power. And I think that's one of the pieces of good news that we've had recently.

Now, you may ask, why am I kicking my campaign off right here in Norfolk? It is because southeastern Virginia proves that – with the right candidate – we can turn areas from red to blue.

We need to do that all across this country, and today, I'm glad to announce that I'm running for president to defeat Donald Trump and to unite and rebuild America.

We cannot afford four more years of President Trump's reckless and unethical actions. He is an existential threat to our country, to our values, and our national security.

Every day it seems to bring another example of just how unfit he is to serve as our President and Commander-in-Chief, and this week was no exception.

Yesterday, many of you read, the President forced out the Secretary of the Navy – a Marine veteran – for upholding the military's commitment to the rule of law. Secretary Spencer wrote, and I quote: 'I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.'

That's an extraordinary rebuke. And here in this city, which is home to the world's largest Naval base, I salute Secretary Spencer for not flinching from his duties. But the fact remains: we have a President – a Commander-in-Chief – who has no respect for the rule of law and no concern whatsoever for ethics or honor, or for the values that truly make America great.

If President Trump wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage that he can do.

The stakes could not be higher. We must win this election. And we must begin rebuilding America – by investing here at home, and restoring our nation's credibility and moral leadership abroad.

I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government, and philanthropy will enable me to both win and to lead. As a candidate, I'll rally a broad and diverse coalition to win. And as president, I will have the skills to fix what is broken in our great nation. And there is a lot broken.

We have an economy that is tilted against most Americans. We have a health care system that costs too much and doesn't cover everyone. We have communities ravaged by gun violence – including here in this region.

Sadly, mass shootings – like the one earlier this year just 17 miles from here in Virginia Beach – have become almost routine. We cannot accept that. We have to put an end to this madness.

I'll be making gun violence a major issue of my campaign, just as I've made it a major issue of my life, in government and philanthropy. I've spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting the NRA to win common sense gun laws – and I'm not stopping now.

Across the country, we have schools that aren't preparing our children for success in the increasingly high-tech world. We have an immigration system that is cruel and dysfunctional. We have climate change that is growing worse by the day. And we have special interests that corrupt Washington and block progress on all of these issues.

As a child and a Boy Scout, I was taught to believe in the promise and potential of America, and I've never been more worried about its future than I am today.

America is at its best when we work together to find meaningful and lasting solutions to our big challenges. We need a president who understands that truth – and who can do it, rather than just make promises.

I offer myself as a problem solver and a doer – not a talker. And as someone who is ready to take on the tough fights – and win.

We say we have to beat Trump. I took on Trump on gun violence – and won stronger gun laws in states across the country.

I took on Trump – the climate denier – and have led efforts that has closed more than half of the nation's dirty coal fired power plants.

Trump right now is carrying water for Big Tobacco. I've taken on the dangers of e-cigarettes to protect our kids.

I know what it takes to beat Trump, because I already have. And I will do it again.

Defeating Trump – and rebuilding America – is the most urgent and important fight of our lives, and I'm going all in.

My resolve is to stand up to the bigotry and hatred and wrong-headed policies that he is anchored in, and in my belief in government as a force for good.

I've spent my career bringing people together to tackle big problems – and fix them.

It has worked well in business – and in running the country's largest, most progressive city, and it can work in Washington, as well.

Let me just tell you a little bit about myself. Growing up, my father never earned more than $6,000 a year. I managed to work my way through college and get an entry-level job in New York. And then, when I was 39-years-old, I got laid off.

I didn't know what to do next. But I did have an idea to start a company – so I took a chance.

Today, I'm glad to say, our company employs 20,000 people and generates large profits, all of which go to helping people across the country and around the world.

My company's employees get well-paid, we provide the best health care benefits money can buy, and if someone in our family has a baby, the primary caregiver gets six months paid maternity leave.

I've run my company according to my values: honesty, with integrity, fairness, and inclusion. And that's the same thing that I brought to city government.

I first ran for mayor because when I looked around, I became more and more frustrated with stories of senseless gun violence, failing schools, and lack of opportunity for those born poor or who were discriminated against because of their race, religion, or gender.

Most people said to me, 'Well that's just the way it is.' And I said to myself: 'Why? Why can't we do better?' Or rather than just complain about it, why don't we do something about it? And so that's exactly what I did.

I was lucky enough to be elected mayor of America's most diverse city just weeks after the attacks of 9/11. It really was a frightening time for our city and our country. But we rebuilt the economy with new jobs and opportunity – for people on all rungs of the economic ladder.

We worked with our teachers to negotiate the largest raise in America, and we improved graduation rates working together by 42 percent. We cut murders in half while reducing incarceration by nearly 40 percent. We also cut the city's carbon footprint by 14 percent and created new programs to combat poverty. And we expanded health care and strengthened immigrant communities.

As mayor, my priority was helping the millions of New Yorkers who needed it the most. I know government can improve people's lives – because when I ran New York City, that's exactly what we did, and we should never settle for anything less. This is America.

Since leaving City Hall, I founded the largest gun safety group in history, and I created a campaign to take on the biggest polluters and climate threats.

As mayor, I banned smoking in restaurants and bars and then cut teen smoking by 50 percent.

And today, we continue to win battles against the tobacco industry and their sleazy attempts to hook young kids on e-cigarettes.

I know how to take on the powerful special interests that corrupt Washington. I know how to win – because I've done it, time and again.

We need a president who is ready to lead us where we need to go – in a way that we can be proud of. Someone with the experience to hit the ground ready to go. I am that person – and that's why I'm running.

I will be the only candidate in this race who isn't going to take a penny from anyone and will work for a dollar a year. Just as I did for 12 years in New York City Hall.

Over the course of this campaign, I will tell you what I will do as president, and how I will do it.

I'll outline plans for: creating good-paying jobs; providing quality health care for every American; stopping gun violence; reducing incarceration; fighting climate change; fixing our broken immigration system; raising taxes on wealthy individuals like me; protecting women's and LGBTQ rights; supporting our veterans; and re-establishing America's place in the world as a force for peace and stability.

But more than plans, I offer the leadership to turn plans into reality, to roll up my sleeves, to motivate our country to unite and rebuild America – and make it fairer and better. I'm ready to get to work, so let's get it on.

Michael Bloomberg, Remarks in Norfolk, Virginia: "Why I'm Running for President" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project