President Donald Trump posted a tweet calling Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg a "TOTAL RACIST" on Tuesday morning, but then deleted it. The president was referring to a 2015 audio clip that circulated on social media this week, where Bloomberg defended the police practice of "stop-and-frisk." The president's tweet dredged up fresh accusations of racism for him as well.
Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013, and is now running for president in 2020. Stop-and-frisk became a regular practice among the NYPD when Bloomberg took office, and he was a staunch supporter of it.
Stop-and-frisk involves police temporarily detaining someone in public, questioning and sometimes searching them. There has been tenuous legal footing for this practice for decades, going back to the 1968 Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio. In New York City, the practice was quickly equated with racial profiling.
Bloomberg had video of speech blocked.February 10, 2020
The newly re-circulated audio seems to support this interpretation. In it, Bloomberg was speaking at The Aspen Institute, and he said that most murderers and murder victims "fit one M.O. — you could just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 15 to 25 [years old]."
"One of the unintended consequences is people say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana. They're all minorities,'" he went on. "That's true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why do you 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 wall and frisk them, And then they start ... 'Oh I don't want to get caught.' So they don't bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home," he concluded.
President Trump tweeted the clip on Tuesday morning, writing: "WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST." However, that accusation brought more outrage down on the president than on Bloomberg, since President Trump has supported stop-and-frisk himself as recently as 2018.
"'Stop-and-frisk' works and it was meant for problems like Chicago," he said during a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, according to a report by CNBC.
Though the tweet was deleted, users continued to post screenshots of it on social media, calling the president a hypocrite. Bloomberg told CNBC that "President Trump's deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans."
"The president's attack on me clearly reflects his fear over the growing strength of my campaign," he added.0comments
Two independent studies proved that stop-and-frisk policing has no meaningful impact on crime rates back in 2013, according to a report by New York Magazine.
Despite his late entry into the Democratic primary race, Bloomberg is still gaining traction in the election. The New Hampshire primary will be held on Tuesday, and its results could foretell the future of the 2020 candidate.