Feb 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The anti-Bloomberg barrage begins

Michael Bloomberg

He's not even on today's ballot in New Hampshire, but Mike Bloomberg is consuming the attention thanks to resurfaced comments from 2015.

Why it matters: The comments touch on hot buttons in a Democratic primary, and Trump allies seem eager for a post-Biden foil.

Bloomberg in 2015, speaking at the Aspen Institute:

  • On stop-and-frisk: "95% of your murderers — murderers and murder victims —  fit one M.O. ... They are male minorities, 16 to 25."
  • On drug arrests: People "say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.' Yes, that's true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. ... Because that's where all the crime is."
  • On Russia annexing Crimea: “Nobody thinks Russia should be in the Ukraine. ... But if you really think about it ... what would America do if we had a contiguous country where a lot of people in that country wanted to be Americans. Do Texas and California ring a bell?"

President Trump tweeted and then deleted the audio. His now-deleted post called Bloomberg a "TOTAL RACIST."

  • Trump himself has promoted stop-and-frisk, saying on the campaign trail in 2016 that it "worked incredibly well" in New York, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh notes.

"Faster and sooner": Bloomberg, who argued the practice did not violate civil rights as recently as a September 2018 interview with the N.Y. Times, said in a statement:

  • "President Trump’s deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans."
  • "I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk. ... I cut it back by 95%, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities."

The bottom line: If Biden bombs today — and Bloomberg keeps rising in polls — expect far more of this to come.

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