President Trump has renewed his assault on 2020 hopeful Mike Bloomberg, blasting the former New York mayor for the aggressive ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy employed under his watch and its harmful impact on black New Yorkers.
“If you were a black person in New York, you were stopped two times a day, three times a day, you couldn’t go to your house, they were stopping you every day,” Trump told Geraldo Rivera during a lengthy interview on Thursday, adding “What Bloomberg did to the black community was a disgrace.”
Though Trump defended his current personal attorney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also stepped up the controversial policy while governing the city, he said Bloomberg “came in and multiplied it times ten.”
“If you were a black person walking down the street, you were going to be stopped and frisked under Bloomberg,” Trump said, adding that while “Rudy used it,” he did so “very sparingly.”
Trump voiced support for stop-and-frisk during his 2016 campaign, stating it worked “incredibly well” in New York, though at the time he made no distinction between the policy under Giuliani as compared to Bloomberg.
The president took up a similar line of the attack earlier this week after leaked audio from a 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute caught Bloomberg stating that, as mayor, he deployed “all the cops in minority neighborhoods,” insisting “that’s where the real crime is.”
“WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST,” Trump said in a now-deleted tweet, which helped to send the inflammatory clip trending on social media, despite Bloomberg’s previous efforts to bury it, asking the Aspen Institute not to distribute video of the speech.
While Trump took no prisoners in his offensive on the billionaire media mogul, he approached another former mayor running for president with more caution. When asked whether Americans would cast a ballot for a gay candidate – apparently a reference to former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg – he was optimistic.
“It doesn’t seem to be hurting Pete Boot-edge-edge as you say, as you would call him,” he said, using the syllabic pronunciation that Buttigieg’s campaign has plastered on t-shirts. “It doesn’t seem to be hurting him very much but… there would be a group that probably wouldn’t [vote for a gay candidate]. But you or I wouldn’t be in that group.”