Tom Steyer, Democrat Billionaire Who Funded Efforts To Convince Congress To Impeach Trump, Announces 2020 Bid

Steyer had previously said that he would not run for president, and instead focus his efforts on getting Trump impeached.

Billionaire Activist Tom Steyer speaks to supporters on January 9, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa
Steve Pope / Getty Images

Steyer had previously said that he would not run for president, and instead focus his efforts on getting Trump impeached.

Tom Steyer, the billionaire Democrat who spearheaded a movement to convince Congress to impeach Donald Trump, has announced he is running for president in 2020, The San José Mercury News reports. The announcement comes months after Steyer said that he wouldn’t be running for the office.

Steyer took the unusual step of announcing his candidacy not before a crowd of supporters and reporters, but on Twitter. In a tweet Tuesday morning, Steyer posted a video in which he didn’t mention Donald Trump by name.

Instead, he called the United States a “banana republic” with very few rich people, and everyone else “living in misery.”

“Americans are deeply disappointed and hurt by the way they’re treated by what they see as the power elite in Washington, D.C., and that goes across party lines and it goes across democracy,” he said.

Steyer now joins a field of Democratic contenders for the party’s 2020 nomination that is so crowded that NBC News, in its first debate cycle, spread out the first debates over two nights, with 10 candidates taking the stage each night.

On Monday, however, the number of Democrat contenders dropped by one, as Eric Swalwell, like Steyer a Bay Area Democrat, dropped out of the race, citing lack of money and low poll numbers.

Lack of money isn’t a problem Steyer is likely to have. In addition to his personal wealth, he also has a database of Democrat donors from which he can draw support. The New York Times reports that Steyer plans to spend his own money, up to $100 million of it, before he relies on donors.

Steyer gathered up the names of that database of potential donors through his “Need To Impeach” campaign. As Forbes reported in October 2017, Steyer spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money on the campaign, on both broadcast TV and on YouTube and other forms of social media, in order to sway voters to convince their representatives to impeach Trump and remove him from office.

The effort, of course, didn’t produce the result Steyer was hoping for, as Trump has not been impeached. What’s more, though the word “impeachment” is used from time to time among rank-and-file Congressional Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been consistently quick to shut down impeachment talk, preferring instead to focus on the 2020 election and on getting a Democrat into the Oval Office.

Whether or not Tom Steyer will be that Democrat remains to be seen.