President Donald Trump and his top allies on Tuesday took the opportunity—with a characteristic lack of self-awareness—to blast Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg as “racist” over an unearthed 2015 clip featuring the former New York City mayor defending his controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy.
During that 2015 speech, at the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg offered up a fervent defense of his policing tactics that disproportionately impacted young people of color. The multi-billionaire, a former Republican, only recently apologized for the stop-and-frisk policy as he entered the presidential race as a Democrat.
“Ninety-five percent of your murders—murderers and murder victims—fit one M.O.,” Bloomberg said in the recording first flagged by progressive podcaster Benjamin Dixon. “You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city.”
“We put all the cops in minority neighborhoods,” he continued. “Yes. That’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”
With #BloombergIsARacist quickly trending on Twitter, Team Trump quickly jumped on the bandwagon in a clear effort to concern-troll about the backlash directed at the ex-mayor. Recent polls have shown Bloomberg surging in the Democratic race and the former NYC mayor easily beating Trump head-to-head in the general election.
“So a big test for @bpolitics today,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted. “Will they write their boss is a complete racist. This video is horrible.”
In a follow-up tweet, Parscale shared another video of Bloomberg from 2013 saying that New York police “disproportionately stop whites and minorities too little,” adding the #BloombergIsARacist hashtag.
Trump campaign director of communications Tim Murtaugh added to Parscale’s tweets, quoting Bloomberg’s Aspen remarks while saying the mayor’s stop-and-frisk apology is “fake and hollow and was only given because he’s in the Democrat primary.”
White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp, meanwhile, ran to Fox News to blast the presidential candidate. Appearing on America’s Newsroom, Schlapp said, “Bloomberg made the most horrific racist comments anyone could have made, basically putting all these minorities into one category and calling them murderers.”
And in a Fox News radio interview with Brian Kilmeade, Donald Trump Jr. complained that Bloomberg would likely get a “pass” over his “racist” comments because he’s now a Democrat.
"You saw obviously the racist clips coming out today,” the president’s son grumbled. “That was pretty extreme. If a Republican said the things that he said, that Bloomberg said, about African American minorities, they'd be calling for him to get out of the race. Now, because he's a Democrat and because all of the other Democrats ultimately want his money if he's not the nominee, he will get a total pass."
The coup de grâce, however, came from Trump himself. In a tweet, which he quickly deleted, the president shared the now-viral clip while blaring: “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!”
Of course, what Trump and his allies conveniently left out of quick condemnations of Bloomberg is that the president was not only a passionate supporter of the practice but even wanted a nationwide stop-and-frisk policy at one point. Trump touted such a policy both during his 2016 campaign and after he became president.
“I would do stop-and-frisk,” he said in 2016. “I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well, and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically.” And in a 2018 speech to law enforcement, the president repeatedly trumpeted the policy's supposed effectiveness, especially in dealing with “problems like Chicago.”
Furthermore, the president has repeatedly and infamously made sweeping, overtly bigoted comments about minority populations—perhaps most notably when he branded Mexican immigrants as “murderers” and “rapists,” or when he referred to various African nations as “shithole countries,” or when he instituted an anti-immigrant ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries, or when he called for the execution of five New York teenagers of color who were wrongly convicted of rape.