Michael Bloomberg Fends Off Old Controversy, Trump Insults: The Rundown

Michael Bloomberg Fends Off Old Controversy, Trump Insults: The Rundown

Michael Bloomberg Fends Off Old Controversy, Trump Insults: The Rundown

Former Republican New York City Mayor and current Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is under fire for comments he made in 2008 blaming the mortgage crisis on the end of the discriminatory practice of "redlining", even as his newly-unearthed remarks defending "stop and frisk" have caused a firestorm.

On Tuesday, he restated his apology over stop-and-frisk, saying he had reduced its use by 95% by the time he left office. To combat crime, he said, "put a lot of cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods".

Bloomberg apologised for his stop-and-frisk policy before announcing his candidacy in November.

Bloomberg is not competing in the first four Democratic nomination contests but is mounting an expensive nationwide campaign ahead of the March primaries.

A day after an audio clip emerged of Bloomberg bluntly defending the stop-and-frisk policy he oversaw as mayor, Bloomberg's campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, sought to portray it as an indication Trump is anxious about Bloomberg's rise and the prospect of running against him in the general election. "And I will." The financial data businessman has spent at least $350m on his campaign to date and said he plans to spend up to $1bn on the race. During his tenure, use of the practice increased sevenfold.

Bloomberg's campaign partnered with Meme 2020, a group of high-profile meme accounts headed up by Jerry Media's Mick Purzycki, and bought several posts on Instagram accounts with millions of followers each, according to The New York Times. He's also acknowledged his own white privilege and released policies focused on issues central to some African American communities, such as black homeownership and maternal mortality rates.

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Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman cast the circulation of the recording on Twitter not so much as news, but as "signaling that the former New York City mayor is about to face more intensive scrutiny as he rises in the polls as a Democratic presidential candidate".

According to the Aspen Times newspaper, Bloomberg's aides had asked journalists not to air footage of his remarks.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg faced sharp criticism from opponents.

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer, running for the Democratic nomination, called the comments "extremely disturbing" and said all the candidates should disavow such "racist stereotypes".

"No boxes please", Trump went on, alluding to his unfounded claim a week ago that Bloomberg might request a platform to enhance his height during debates. Trump tweeted and then deleted the recording, calling Bloomberg a "TOTAL RACIST".

Symone Sanders, a top adviser to Biden's campaign, called the comments "sad and despicable", and said Bloomberg "will have to answer for these comments".

The following day, Bloomberg tweeted again: "Donald Trump is the world's biggest schoolyard bully - with no respect for civility or decency, or facts or honesty".

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