In the same interview, Mr. Bloomberg also expressed skepticism about the #MeToo movement in general, as well as the specific allegations of sexual misconduct against Charlie Rose, the disgraced anchor who for many years broadcast his show from the offices of Mr. Bloomberg’s media company.
A former Republican who repeatedly explored running for president as an independent, Mr. Bloomberg registered as a Democrat ahead of the midterm elections last year. In his past flirtations with the presidency, Mr. Bloomberg has never before taken the step of filing to put his name on a state ballot.
Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C., said in an interview that he spoke with Mr. Bloomberg in late October, and the two discussed the unfolding presidential race. Mr. Benjamin, a Democrat who has not taken sides in the primary, predicted Mr. Bloomberg’s background as a businessman and mayor, and his stances on climate and guns, would make him a formidable contender if he runs.
“I believe Mayor Bloomberg would be an incredibly strong candidate,” Mr. Benjamin said. “There’s a lot of work to be done in gearing up for the first four primaries and caucuses, and certainly for Super Tuesday, but I would caution anybody not to underestimate Mike Bloomberg.”
Though Mr. Bloomberg could still opt against running, even his preliminary steps toward a campaign may come as a blow to Mr. Biden, who has been counting on strong support from centrist Democrats, traditional party donors and much of the business community to carry him forward in the race.
When Mr. Bloomberg previously announced in March that he would not run for president, advisers indicated the decision was shaped in part by Mr. Biden’s strong popularity with Democratic primary voters. But Mr. Biden’s position in the race is evidently no longer imposing enough to keep Mr. Bloomberg at bay.
As of late afternoon on Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg had not spoken with Mr. Biden about his updated plans, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said.