As Mike Bloomberg rises in national polls, his past is drawing fresh scrutiny.
The former New York City mayor apologized—again—Thursday for the controversial stop-and-frisk policy used by the NYPD during his time as mayor.
“What I can do is learn from my mistakes,” the Democrat presidential candidate said.
The city policy allowed police to stop and search anyone for weapons, discriminately targeting people of color. A policy Bloomberg supported.
As heard in recently resurfaced comments from 2015: “We put all these cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true, why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you should get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against a wall and frisk them.”
Bloomberg recently said, “I defended it looking back for too long because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids.”
His Democratic rivals say his words are just not enough.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “I think at the end of the day when people A: learn about Mr. Bloomberg’s record of stop-and-frisk in New York City, I think that will change some minds.”
Older Bloomberg comments are also roaring back. In 2008, he appeared to defend “redlining,” a discriminatory housing practice which denied loans and assistance to people in low-income neighborhoods. “It probably all started back when there was a lot of pressure on banks to make loans to everyone,” he said.
Bloomberg seemed to suggest that ending redlining led to the financial crisis. He said, “And then 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.”
His campaign put out a statement after those comments came to light, saying, “Mike’s saying that something bad, the financial crisis, followed something good, which is the fight against redlining he was part of as mayor.”
His Democratic rivals pounced. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, “That crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been able to be bigger racists and anyone who thinks that should not be the leader of our party.”
Bloomberg was mayor of New York from 2000 to 2013. That was when the stop and frisk policy reached its peak.