Trump calls Bloomberg 'total racist' after NYC ex-mayor defends stopping and frisking of minorities on tape
It was, however, surprising to see the attack coming from Trump who himself supports the stop-and-frisk policy and has emphasized cracking down on crime and immigration
President Donald Trump lashed out at his Democratic rival Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday, February 11, calling him a "TOTAL RACIST" in a tweet following the emergence of an audio of the former New York mayor in which he is seen defending the use of stop-and-frisk policing of minorities.
The billionaire was heard saying in the 2015 audiotape: "...we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why do we do it? Because that's where all the crime is." Author Benjamin Dixon, a supporter of Bernie Sanders who narrowly won the NH Primary, posted the audio on Twitter on Monday, February 10.
For Bloomberg, this could be a tricky challenge to meet. The 77-year-old has apologized for his stand, however, the critical timing of the audio's emergence could jeopardize his mission to win the White House.
The candidate who is self-funding his campaign has skipped the caucuses in Iowa and primary in New Hampshire where the Democratic field saw a close finish.
Trump himself supports stop-and-frisk policy
It was, however, surprising to see the attack coming from Trump who himself supports the stop-and-frisk policy and has emphasized cracking down on crime and immigration as some of the foundation stones of his presidency.
In 2018, he called for Jeff Sessions, the attorney general then, to use the policies to "help straighten out the terrible shooting wave" in Chicago. In a speech in Florida, the president, a supporter of the policy for many years, said: "It works, and it was meant for problems like Chicago: Stop and frisk."
However, one would suppose the attack on Bloomberg was more political coming from Trump, who after his impeachment acquittal, has intensified his attacks on the Democrats.
As Joe Biden increasingly finds himself in a spot in the Democratic race, experts believe Bloomberg could gain in the subsequent stages. Even a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that Bloomberg picked up a greater share of the African-American votes.
In a tweet that replaced the one calling Bloomberg "TOTAL RACIST", Trump said about Bloomberg: "Mini Mike is a short ball (very) hitter. Tiny club head speed. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"
Bloomberg was heard defending the hard police tactics in a speech delivered to the Aspen Institute in which he touts the plan and acknowledges that the strategy eyes putting all the cops in minority neighborhoods with the hope of tackling gun violence.
"Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops," he says. "They are male, minorities, 16-25. That's true in New York, that's true in virtually every city."
"And that's where the real crime is. You've got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed," Bloomberg adds.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg apologized over it as he faced a backlash in comments that were reported by Bloomberg News, which is part of his own media empire.
"I apologize. I own it. And there's nothing – I'm going to live with it. My heart, I think, was in the right place of trying to do something of reducing murders but the police – I didn’t pay as much attention to them as I should have. And you know, I apologize," the billionaire Democratic candidate said.
He also issued a statement in response to Trump's "racist" tweet, saying it only showed the president's "endless efforts to divide Americans." He said he inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk and added that it was overused as part of the effort to contain gun violence.
Bloomberg is ignoring the first four primaries and focusing on the Super Tuesday states.