Tom Steyer, billionaire anti-Trump activist, says he won’t run for president but vows $40M impeachment push

Billionaire Tom Steyer, the outspoken liberal megadonor and former hedge fund manager who has led a campaign for President Trump’s immediate impeachment, will not run for president in 2020, he announced Wednesday.

Instead, Steyer, who spoke at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, declared that he will undertake and oversee a laundry list of activities in 2019 aimed at removing Trump from office.

“Most people come to Iowa around this time to announce a campaign for president,” Steyer said in his prepared remarks. “But I am proud to be here to announce that I will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to remove a president.”

Among Steyer’s goals: a “multi-million dollar digital initiative aimed at informing the public and members of Congress about the 10 impeachable offenses that Trump has already committed,” town halls across the country, and even an “impeachment summit in late January that will bring more than 250 supporters from across the country to D.C. together to learn about historical precedent for impeachment.”

That summit, Steyer promised, would be followed by an “advocacy day that will include impeachment summit participants fanning out across Capitol Hill to hand deliver articles of impeachment drafted by legal scholars to members of Congress with the simple message: ‘We did half the work, now it’s up to you to finish the job.'”

Steyer vowed in a statement to “spend 100% of his time and energy focused on removing Donald Trump from power” through the group Need to Impeach, which he founded in October 2017. He committed to spending $40 million on the effort to have Trump removed from office in 2019.

“This is the biggest issue in American politics today,” Steyer said in his speech Wednesday. “We have a lawless president in the White House who is eroding our democracy and it is only going to get worse. Donald Trump’s removal from power ultimately decides whether or not we can tackle every other challenge we face in America — and whether or not we continue to live in a democracy of, for, and by the people. It is past time for members of Congress to fulfill their constitutional duty. The question remaining is, what will Congress do?”

Steyer had been considered by many analysts to be a potential contender for the White House, and had taken apparent steps in that direction. In recent months he ran television advertisements in which he appeared personally to call for Trump’s removal, appeared at numerous political events, and even named a potential campaign manager.

In early December, Steyer laid the groundwork for a political platform, speaking alongside a panel in Charleston, S.C., at one of five scheduled town halls. Each event focused on the “Five Rights” of his potential campaign platform, which he called the “social contract for the 21st century.”

While some analysts feared his wealth and lack of political experience would alienate progressives, Steyer had an extensive array of advisers and strategists at the ready, owing in part to his longstanding involvement in national politics.

In 2013 he founded NextGen America, a political action committee and nonprofit working to combat climate change.