Rush, who had endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) before her exit from the race early last month, said he had been contacted by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) campaigns before he decided to endorse Bloomberg.
“He alone, among the current Democratic candidates, has been the clearest, the most focused, and the most reasonable voice for addressing the depressed state of the African-American economy,” Rush said of Bloomberg in a statement. “His Greenwood Initiative is not only inspirational, it’s practical and it’s doable.”
Bloomberg announced the Greenwood Initiative — his plan to address economic disparities among African Americans — on Sunday in Tulsa, Okla., the site of a racist riot in 1921 that destroyed the eponymous black neighborhood, one of the most prosperous African American communities in the U.S. at the time.
The Bloomberg campaign on Tuesday also announced that Rush will serve as its national co-chair.
“Congressman Bobby Rush has dedicated his life to building a more open, inclusive, equitable, just and prosperous America — as a civil rights activist, pastor, and leader in Congress, where he has been a force for change on issues we both feel passionately about, including health care, gun violence, and poverty,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg has faced scrutiny over New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which disproportionately affected African American and Latino residents. Bloomberg apologized for the policy shortly after kicking off his campaign in November.
Despite defending the policy before he ran for president, the former mayor has emphasized racial justice issues on the campaign trail, saying in a recent speech “My story might have turned out very differently if I had been black, and … more black Americans of my generation would have ended up with far more wealth, had they been white.”