Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg was swiftly condemned Tuesday after a years-old audio clip surfaced in which he appears to discuss in starkly racial terms the “stop-and-frisk” policing practice he presided over as mayor of New York City, Politico reported.
The scratchy recording was disseminated overnight across social media, provoking a new wave of online criticism against the billionaire businessman’s self-funded White House campaign just as it has begun to earn broader support in public polling.
“Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops,” Bloomberg can be heard saying in the clip.
“They are male minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York. That’s true in virtually every city,” the clip continues. “And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed.”
The clip seems to have originated from Bloomberg’s speech at an Aspen Institute event in February 2015. Later that month, The Aspen Times reported that Bloomberg’s representatives had asked the Aspen Institute not to distribute footage of his appearance. A Bloomberg campaign aide did not respond to questions about whether the video would be released.
President Donald Trump quickly pounced on Bloomberg as the clip spread across Twitter on Tuesday morning, writing online: “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!”
Trump, who had previously called for “stop-and-frisk” to be instituted nationwide while campaigning for president in 2016, later deleted his tweet, issuing another message mocking Bloomberg’s height and golf game.
The campaign manager and communications director for the President’s reelection effort both promoted Bloomberg’s comments from the clip in their own posts to Twitter, Politico adds.
In a statement, Bloomberg said that Trump’s deleted tweet “is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans,” and acknowledged that “stop-and-frisk” was “overused” in New York.