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Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday and will endorse Joe Biden.

What he's saying: "I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden," Bloomberg said in a statement.

  • "I’ve known Joe for a very long time. I know his decency, his honesty, and his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country – including gun safety, health care, climate change, and good jobs."

The state of play: Bloomberg opted to skip campaigning in early states, staking his candidacy on a string of Super Tuesday victories to launch him to frontrunner status, but that plan was ultimately felled by the resurgence of Joe Biden's campaign.

  • Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both exited the race between the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday and chose to back Biden — along with Beto O'Rourke.
  • On Super Tuesday, Biden scored surprise victories in states like Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota — and racked up huge wins across the South.
  • While Bloomberg was viable in multiple states, he didn't win any — and his only victory was in the territory of American Samoa.
  • Bloomberg and Biden spoke on the phone on Wednesday, according to a Bloomberg campaign official.

The big picture: Bloomberg's self-funding drew backlash from an increasingly progressive party that is skeptical of the role of big money in politics. Bloomberg was one of two billionaires in the race, joined by Tom Steyer, who dropped out over the weekend.

  • Bloomberg's record as mayor of New York City drew controversy, particularly his support of stop-and-frisk. He apologized for the policy in November, acknowledging that it unfairly targeted people of color.
  • He faced criticism for his use of non-disclosure agreements after being accused of harassment and gender discrimination by former female employees of Bloomberg LP.
  • He also faced an ethical conflict related to his ownership of Bloomberg News. The eponymous founder refused to allow his company's journalism arm to investigate him as a candidate, forcing it to extend that policy to all 2020 Democrats.

Bloomberg moved to directly take on President Trump from the start of his run. Both campaigns took out 60-second ad slots during the Super Bowl, and Bloomberg became a repeated target of Trump's tweets.

  • Trump gave Bloomberg a signature nickname — "Mini Mike" — and said he "is going nowhere, just wasting his money."
  • After Bloomberg dropped out, Trump tweeted that he "could have told him long ago that he didn’t have what it takes, and he would have saved himself a billion dollars, the real cost. Now he will pour money into Sleepy Joe’s campaign, hoping to save face. It won’t work!"

What's next: Bloomberg has pledged to pay his massive staff to continue to work through November to support whoever becomes the eventual Democratic nominee.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Airlines plot pilot comeback with hirings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Airlines are readying more pilots for a blowout bounce-back in demand.

Why it matters: The companies were clobbered by the pandemic. Now they're racing to make sure they're ready for a flying boom.

Tim Scott hopes to reintroduce version of GOP police reform bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday he plans to reintroduce his police reform bill or a similar proposal in the coming weeks and that he has discussed a potential compromise with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: Eyes have again turned to Washington to take steps to address police reform in the wake of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Tuesday, after efforts stalled in Congress last year.

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