Ex-Hedge Funder Vows to Oust Trump — Not Beat Him

Tom Steyer, in a series of tweets published Wednesday, said he will not run for president.

Tom Steyer, speaks to attendees during a "Need To Impeach" event in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. (Anthony Lanzilote/Bloomberg)

Tom Steyer, speaks to attendees during a “Need To Impeach” event in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018.

(Anthony Lanzilote/Bloomberg)

Hedge fund founder Tom Steyer has decided not to run for president.

Steyer — who was seen a potential 2020 presidential candidate — has decided to focus his efforts and deep pockets on pressuring Congress to impeach President Donald Trump, he said at a press conference Wednesday. He added that he will not be running for president “at this time.”

“In 2019, I’m committed to seeing the House impeach this president,” Steyer tweeted Wednesday. “We must begin impeachment proceedings, or Mr. Trump must resign. That’s how we’ll define success this year.”

Steyer launched a series of television ads in 2018 calling for Trump’s impeachment. He created a political action committee with the same goal called Need to Impeach.

Steyer plans to hold town halls and a summit devoted to promoting his message, he said at a Wednesday press conference. He also plans to push Congressional representatives and early presidential candidates to promote impeachment. Steyer will invest $40 million in the mission, he said.

“The impeachment question has reached an inflection point,” he tweeted. “That’s why I just announced that I will be dedicating 100% of my time and effort in 2019 towards Mr. Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.”

Steyer’s most recent initiative is promoting what he calls the “5 Rights,” which he said Democrats should use to guide their path to the 2020 elections.

The rights include: “the right to an equal vote in a fair democracy; the right to clean air and clean water; the right to learn, from pre-K through college and advanced skills training; the right to earn a living wage; and the right to health,” according to Steyer’s website.

Steyer was a leading Democratic donor in 2018, second only to Michael Bloomberg, political spending database Open Secrets shows. He contributed $70.8 million to Democrat and liberal causes that year. During the 2016 election cycle, the database listed Steyer as the top individual contributor nationwide. During that cycle, he spent $10.3 million on Democratic candidates.

[II Deep Dive: The Democrats’ Robert Mercer]

Steyer held a similar news conference almost a year ago to the day. On January 8, 2018, Steyer said his major focus was ensuring that young people voted.

The political influencer started his career at Morgan Stanley before moving to Goldman Sachs and then to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

“Working on Wall Street was not for him, so he moved to San Francisco in 1986 and started his own investment firm,” according to his biography.

His San Francisco-based hedge fund firm, now known as Farallon Capital, began with just $15 million. Steyer retired from Farallon in 2012, when he was managing an estimated $20 billion, according to a report from Institutional Investor’s Alpha from that time.

Since then, Steyer has founded NextGen America, a nonprofit that organizes around climate change, health care, immigration, and equality, according to its website.