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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

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.