Judge Judy just publicly endorsed someone for president for the first time in her career

Judy Sheindlin is making her political opinions known for the first time.

The highest-paid personality on television wrote an op-ed for USA Today in which she endorsed Michael Bloomberg for president ahead of the 2020 election, making it the first time that she has explicitly revealed her personal political leanings to the public. 

"I realize I am taking a personal and a career risk," the "Judge Judy" star wrote. "I have carefully stayed away from politics for 50 years, except to vote. But times have changed in our country, and I believe the moment has come for me to step out from behind the curtain. I want to speak honestly and from the heart -- regardless of the consequences."

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Sheindlin, 77, said that the former New York City mayor would make for a "no-nonsense president" that the country needs right now.

"Our American family has been fractured in recent years. We’re hopelessly divided, and a bitterly divided family cannot thrive," she said. "The only way we can begin to come together again, I said, is if Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, becomes our next president."

In her piece, Sheindlin acknowledged that Bloomberg has stated that he doesn't intend to run for president this election cycle, but noted that with candidates "rising and falling," Bloomberg could still successfully throw his hat into the ring as "a man of the center."

"An independent, tough-minded businessman, he represents our best chance to bring America together again and begin the long national process of healing," she explained. "Unlike those on the far the right and the far left who use their bully pulpit to divide us, he’s a pragmatist, a man who has shown time and again that he knows how to get things done and cares more about results than ideology. That’s a skill in short supply these days, on both sides."

"I believe that if your political party has lost an election -- either to elect a mayor, governor or president of the United States -- you are obligated to spend the next four years finding the best possible candidate to beat the incumbent," Sheindlin went on. "There used to be a preponderance of folks on the Democratic side who understood the need to elect a centrist candidate, someone who could build coalitions and reach across the aisle. But in this campaign, candidates are fighting to out-left each other with pie-in-the-sky proposals for free money and free education. Everybody gets a thousand dollars, everybody gets free college tuition. Everybody gets, everybody gets, but where does all this getting come from?"

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The television star went on to say that Bloomberg is "the only person out there who seems to understand that screaming at one another gets us nowhere" and recognized that people will probably "vehemently disagree" with her opinions about what will perhaps be the most divisive election in the country's history.

"We all know that spirited debate is part of what makes this country great, and so different from other nations. But let’s keep it civil. As fellow Americans, we should respect each other’s voices," she urged. "If someone expresses an opinion in a thoughtful, well-behaved manner, those who disagree should do so in the same manner. Sadly, that lesson has been utterly forgotten since the last presidential election, and we’re paying the price for it every day."

Sheindlin's endorsement of Bloomberg represents the first time she's made such an announcement in her television career of almost 25 years ("Judge Judy" debuted in 1996). 

Read Judy Sheindlin's full op-ed for USA Today here.

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