As Mike Bloomberg continues to surge in the race for the Democratic nomination, his past comments are increasingly coming back to haunt him.
From his defense of stop-and-frisk policing, to archaic, offensive statements about women, the former New York City mayor’s own words often serve to puncture the idea of him as the anti-Trump billionaire and have handed plenty of ammunition to his 2020 opponents.
Bloomberg’s rivals are likely to remind him – and those watching at home – of his past beliefs at the Democratic debate tonight.
Here are some that might get a mention:
“Ninety-five per cent of your murders – murderers and murder victims – fit one MO […] 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.”
Bloomberg was speaking at the Aspen Institute in 2015 when he offered this defense of stop-and-frisk, a policing practice he expanded as mayor which disproportionately affected black people.
“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.”
This is from the same Bloomberg speech. He continued: “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”
“I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say.”
That was Bloomberg speaking on his weekly radio show in 2013. The then mayor was responding to criticism of stop-and-frisk – a year earlier 87% of all people stopped and frisked were African Americans or Latino. Under Bloomberg the number of stops increased from 97,276 in 2002 to a high of 685,724 in 2011.
“There’s this enormous cohort of black and Latino males, age, let’s say, 16 to 25, that don’t have jobs, don’t have any prospects, don’t know how to find jobs, don’t know what their skillsets are, don’t know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively and collectively.”
Bloomberg on job prospects for minorities in 2011.
“Class warfare and racist.”
This was Bloomberg’s assessment of Bill de Blasio’s campaign for mayor in 2013. “He’s making an appeal using his family to gain support,” Bloomberg said of De Blasio, whose wife and children are African American. “I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It’s comparable to me pointing out I’m Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote.”
Bloomberg’s reaction on learning an employee was pregnant, according to a 1997 sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged Bloomberg had made a series of sexist comments to female employees.
“If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people.”
Bloomberg on transgender rights in 2019.
“They would make it harder and more costly for businesses to stay, harder and more costly for businesses to stay, and harder and more costly for businesses to thrive.”
That’s Bloomberg stating his opposition to a minimum wage in 2012, when New York city council hoped to introduce the measure.
“I, for example, am not in favor, have never been in favor, of raising the minimum wage.”
Bloomberg reiterated his distaste for the measure in 2015.
“As president, Mike will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour to ensure that all employees are fairly compensated for the time they spend working.”
That’s according to a press release from Bloomberg released on Sunday.
“Congress got involved – local elected officials, as well – and said: ‘Oh that’s not fair, these people should be able to get credit.’ […] And once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn’t as good as you would like.”
In 2008 Bloomberg claimed the end of “redlining” – a practice where banks would refuse to lend to people in certain neighborhoods – was a key factor in the 2008 financial crisis. The redlined neighborhoods were frequently made up of African American people, disproportionately preventing them from owning homes. Although the practice was technically made illegal in 1968, people of color are still more likely to be denied a mortgage than white people. Experts say African Americans and Latinos were deliberately sold predatory loans in the lead up to the 2008 crash.
“The royal family – what a bunch of misfits – a gay, an architect, that horsey-faced lesbian, and a kid who gave up Koo Stark for some fat broad.”
This is from The Portable Bloomberg, a book made by employees to celebrate Bloomberg’s 48th birthday in 1990. “Yes, these are all actual quotes,” wrote Elisabeth DeMarse, Bloomberg LP’s former chief marketing officer and the book’s publisher.
Bloomberg’s campaign has disputed, sort of, some of the quotes. “Mike simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift,” a campaign spokesman told the Washington Post. The spokesman added, however: “Mike openly admits that his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life and some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong.”
“I could teach anybody – even people in this room, no offense intended – to be a farmer. It’s a [process]. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”
Bloomberg on agriculture, back in 2016. He was comparing farming to information technology, which he said is: “Fundamentally different because it’s built around replacing people with technology, and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze.”
“Whenever my wife catches me eyeing some broad, she’s very careful to turn to me and say: ‘That’s the most expensive piece of ass in the world!’”
From The Portable Bloomberg.
“I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site [and] doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one.”
The Portable Bloomberg again.
“I like theater, dining and chasing women. Let me put it this way: I am a single, straight billionaire in Manhattan. What do you think? It’s a wet dream.”
Bloomberg offered this insight in an interview with the Guardian in 1996.