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.

Go deeper

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.