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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

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.

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