Gov. Gina Raimondo announced her endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg at his campaign event Wednesday morning, making her the first governor in the country to do so.
“I think Mike can win. He has the track record, the resources, the energy,” Raimondo, who will also act as Bloomberg’s campaign co-chair, told The Herald. While she acknowledged that it will be more difficult for the former mayor of New York City to win having entered the race late, “He’s the best candidate in the race and he’s the best candidate to beat Donald Trump.”
Supporting Bloomberg’s presidential bid was “an easy call,” Raimondo, the former chair of the Democratic Governors Association, told the crowd gathered at the Wexford Innovation Center in downtown Providence. “He’s a uniter, not a divider; he’s a pragmatist, not a partisan; and he brings calm, confident, steady leadership, not hysteria,” she said.
Raimondo, a long-term political ally of Bloomberg, praised his entrepreneurial success and his leadership following the Sept. 11 attacks, while also applauding his political mentorship. “He has made me a better governor,” she added.
The pair hope to collaborate on interstate policies to address climate change, gun control and the opioid epidemic, Bloomberg said.
“I’m gonna bring this country back together, and … start putting the ‘united’ back (in) the United States of America,” Bloomberg said in his speech following Raimondo’s introduction. “I believe we need less talk, less partisanship, less division, less tweeting; in fact, what about no tweeting from the Oval Office ever again?”
Bloomberg described his policy platform as including strengthening gun control and weakening of the National Rifle Association, converting national energy to green sources, expanding access to affordable healthcare, increasing job opportunities, reforming the immigration system and protecting women’s rights. Bloomberg gave further examples of his past achievements: raising teachers’ salaries and graduation rates, increasing access to health insurance coverage, closing power plants and reducing gun violence.
“Basically, you can say I am the un-Trump,” he said.
But Bloomberg’s speech did not proceed without interruption: Several protesters raised their voices at times throughout the speech only to be drowned out by the crowd of supporters and escorted out.
Chris Sarli ’22, who attended the campaign event, said that he believes Bloomberg to be a competent candidate, despite a few policies Sarli disagrees with, such as Bloomberg’s prior support of stop-and-frisk.
Aurise Carden, a retired teacher from Rhode Island and an advocate of Moms Demand Action, supports Bloomberg for his gun control policy and what she described as his quality of being “a rational, moral leader.”
Rick Simone, the president of a Rhode Island-based marketing agency, said that he is still unsure about who he wanted to support. “The Iowa caucus scared the hell out of me,” he said. “I’m surprised it is so disorganized.”
Bloomberg ended his speech reminiscing about a past victory over Donald Trump and praising political leadership within Rhode Island.