Poor Michael Bloomberg. He is finding out quickly that the Internet is forever.
Bloomberg, he of billions of dollars is self-funding a run for the White House. In other words, he is trying to buy the presidency.
Bloomberg jumped into the circus known as the Democratic presidential primaries late in 2019 and quickly apologized for his past transgressions, namely doubling down on the “stop and frisk” program started in New York City under his predecessor Rudy Giuliani.
After some of his comments touting the program resurfaced, he gave an apology for participating in the program.
This past week, comments he made at a forum in Colorado resurfaced and Bloomberg was forced to do damage control.
In referring to his 2015 remarks said they “do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity.” Funny how things change when they come back to bite you in the ass, especially when you’re running for president.
In a case of extremely bad timing for Bloomberg, an audio tape has resurfaced where he defended the strategy of the New York City Police Department aggressively patrolling minority neighborhoods, in a speech to the Aspen Institute.
The Aspen Times quoted Bloomberg at the time as saying, “Cities need to get guns out of [the] hands” of individuals who are “male, minority, and between the ages of 15 and 25.”
And they say that Trump is a racist?
An audio of the speech then revealed more evidence of the racial overtone of Bloomberg’s speech, in which he said of young minorities:
“…throw them against the wall and frisk them,” and admitted “we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods…because that’s where all the crime is.”
Tuesday morning, clips of the speech have gone viral, thanks to posts from President Trump’s campaign, as well as from associates such as the president’s don, Donald Trump Jr.
Omg! Leaked audio of Mike Bloomberg talking about the high crime rates among urban minorities.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 11, 2020
In fact, the president himself shared the clip from his official Twitter account, saying:
“WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!”
The tweet has since been deleted.
Speaking to the primarily white crowd in the video, Bloomberg said,
“It’s controversial but first thing is all our—95 percent of your murders, and murderers, and murder victims fit one [unintelligible].”
“You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all of the cops. They are male, minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York, it’s true in virtually every city in America.”
“You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people getting killed. The first thing you need to do to help that group is keep them both alive.”
He went on to suggest that these “young men do not have any ‘long-term focus’ because they believe they are going to get killed anyway. So, ‘it’s a joke to have a gun, it’s a joke to pull the trigger.'”
“And in New York, before Giuliani got elected we had 2,300 murders. When he left that was down to 660 murders, when I left office it was down to 333 murders a year, and it was all the same group.”
“No one in New York gets murdered. If you get murdered, the first thing we want to do is, ‘What were you selling?’ or ‘Who were your family members?’ There is no other kind of murder whatsoever.”
Bloomberg continued that a lot of people don’t understand how important it is to know the population [emphasis added](or moreover demographic, the implication was) which commits crime was an important foundation to stop and frisk.
Bloomberg suggested that “other cities” fail by not getting guns out of the hands of young minorities. He said:
“You have to spend money on your police department, a lot of people don’t like the fact that is what you do, that is what stop and frisk is all about.”
“People say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana, they’re all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true, why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes that’s true, and why do we DO IT?
Do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the first thing we can do for people is stop them from being killed.”
Bloomberg went on:
“We did a calculation on how many people would have been dead if we hadn’t brought down the murder rate and gotten guns off the street.
And the way you got the guns out of the kids’ hands was to throw them against the wall and frisk them. They say, ‘Oh I don’t want to get caught,’ so they don’t bring the gun. They may still have the gun but they leave it at home.”
The Aspen Institute is the think tank behind the Aspen Ideas Festival, a Utopian conference for western elites that has earned some criticism and mocking for its high-brow and convoluted response to first-world problems.
In trying to deflect from the controversy, Bloomberg said that he “inherited the practice of stop and frisk” from the previous administration,” ostensibly trying to blame Rudy Giuliani for the mess he now finds himself in.
He said that by the time he left office he had significantly reduced the use of stop and frisk. He now says:
“I should have done it faster and sooner.”
Ah, gotta love saying things for political expediency.
As much as Bloomberg tried to blame the practice on Giuliani, the program expanded dramatically under Bloomberg’s administration, reaching a peak in 2011, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The ACLU reported that 685,000 people were stopped that year. The use of the practice declined significantly after that. Bloomberg also defended the program even in the face of widespread criticism and legal pushback.
Like a good politician, Bloomberg has stepped back from the policy since launching his presidential aspirations in order to appeal to minority voters, a traditional voting bloc for Democrats, but one with which President Trump has made some inroads.
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Bloomberg also acknowledged his own “white privilege” and he has released policies that suck up to African American communities, such as black home ownership and maternal mortality rates.
Pinch me if I’m wrong, but weren’t sub-prime mortgages one of the catalysts to the economic collapse of 2009?
Bloomberg has suddenly become a target for his Democratic opponents, Joe Biden in particular.
Biden was widely believed to enjoy significant support among blacks in the Democratic race, however Biden has emerged as a very weak candidate, losing handily in the Iowa caucuses and expected to finish poorly in New Hampshire.
As a result, some of his support has dwindled, and Bloomberg and Crazy Bernie have picked up some of the slack.
On Tuesday, Symone Sanders, a top Biden advisor, blasted Bloomberg, calling the comments at the Aspen Institute “sad and despicable,” further saying he “will have to answer for these comments.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtagh also seized upon the comments.
“These are clearly racist comments and unacceptable. It also shows that his apology for ‘stop and frisk’ was fake and was only designed to win him votes,” he said. “In a Democrat primary, this kind of talk is poison. Now everyone can see what a fraud Mike Bloomberg is.”
Despite that, the president has also supported the policy, albeit without the racial undertones present in Bloomberg’s speech.
In a 2018 speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Trump spoke highly of the program and urged the city of Chicago to adopt it.
Back in 2013, he defended both the program as well as then Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, tweeting:
Stop and frisk works. Instead of criticizing @NY_POLICE Chief Ray Kelly, New Yorkers should be thanking him for keeping NY safe.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2013
Bloomberg, forever the legend in his own mind, railed back at the attacks from the president’s campaign, saying that Trump’s attack “reflects his fear over the growing strength of my campaign.”
“Make no mistake Mr. President: I am not afraid of you and I will not let you bully me or anyone else in America,” Bloomberg said.
For his part, the president has made his own inroads to black voters, citing economic growth for minorities since 2016 and highlighting the president’s advocacy for criminal justice reform, which included a highly watched Super Bowl ad.
A poll in December put Trump at 35 percent with black voters, 38 percent with Hispanic voters, and 28 percent with Asians. That poll was an Emerson poll. A Rasmussen poll at the same time showed his support among blacks at 34 percent, and even CNN had him among non-white voters at 26 percent.
Meanwhile in 2016, Trump received 8 percent support among blacks, whereas Mitt Romney got just 6 percent in 2012 and John McCain 4 percent in 2008. In other words, Trump has doubled the support that McCain got in 2016 and that was before black unemployment hit its lowest level in history.
Should Bloomberg buy, er win the Democratic nomination, his statements to the Aspen Institute may come back to haunt him.
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