Feb 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The anti-Bloomberg barrage begins

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

Trump declares war on Bloomberg over stop-and-frisk

Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump's campaign seized Tuesday on 2015 audio of Mike Bloomberg defending the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic that was utilized by New York City during his mayoral tenure.

Why it matters: It's a significant and sustained attack by the Trump camp on a candidate that's gotten the president's attention — if his Twitter feed is any indication — and it comes as the former New York mayor has been gaining ground in national polls in a crowded Democratic field.

Mike Bloomberg endorsed by 3 Congressional Black Caucus members

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during a campaign rally in Nashville on Wednesday. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg won the endorsements of Congressional Black Caucus members Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) on Wednesday.

Why it maters: The backing comes a day after 2015 audio resurfaced of the former New York City mayor defending the stop-and-frisk policing policy that mostly targeted black and Latino people before it was ruled unconstitutional in 2013. In the audio, he said "95% of your murderers — murderers and murder victims —  fit one M.O. ... They are male minorities, 16 to 25." Bloomberg apologized for his support of the tactic in November. He expressed his regret again Tuesday.

Go deeper:

Steyer: Bloomberg's 2015 defense of stop-and-frisk is "extremely disturbing"

Tom Steyer. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer on Tuesday condemned a 2015 audio recording of fellow billionaire Mike Bloomberg's defense of the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic used during his time as New York City mayor, calling the practice "extremely disturbing."

Driving the news: President Trump's campaign amplified the Bloomberg audio earlier on Tuesday. Trump tweeted and then deleted the recording, calling Bloomberg a "TOTAL RACIST."