Black leaders are still showing support for billionaire Mike Bloomberg, even in the midst of his racist history coming to light.
According to CNN, the former New York City mayor running for president secured the endorsement of three members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday. Reps. Lucy McBath of Georgia, Gregory Meeks of New York and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands each showed their support for Bloomberg. The three join a growing list of Black leaders who support Bloomberg, which could help maintain or boost his already strong support from Black voters.
MORE: Racist Bloomberg Speech Emerges As More Black Voters Support Him
McBath’s endorsement for Bloomberg might not come as a surprise considering her strong advocacy for gun control. She’s pressed the issue especially since her 17-year-old son Jordan Davis was shot and killed by a white man back in 2012 over loud music. Bloomberg has been fervently pushing his gun control platform, even paying millions for a Super Bowl ad covering a Black family impacted by gun violence.
“@MikeBloomberg is the kind of fighter we need in the White House,” McBath wrote in her endorsement tweet for Bloomberg. “He’s given mothers like me a way to fight back against gun violence. I’m proud to stand with him in this race. He will win this election, & work with Congress to pass common sense gun safety laws.”
Meanwhile, Meeks and Plaskett say Bloomberg is the best candidate to defeat President Donald Trump in a general election, and they argue that he would boost the U.S. economy. “Mike not only has the policies to bring equality and wealth creation to communities of color and economic development to keep us competitive in the world, he’s not afraid to fight,” Plaskett said.
These endorsements come not too long after a 2015 clip surfaced of Bloomberg basically criminalizing Black people.
“Ninety-five percent of murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O.,” he says in the clip, which was taken from a speech he gave at Aspen Institute. “You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible). And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”
His statements were in support of the stop-and-frisk practices in New York City, which disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities. Bloomberg championed the practice carried out by police for a long time — a practice that was eventually deemed unconstitutional by a US District Court. Bloomberg eventually apologized for stop-and-frisk in 2019 right when kicked off his presidential run. However, many people questioned his authenticity, especially when the 2015 clip surfaced this week. In the clip, Bloomberg also defended arresting “minority” kids for marijuana, further stating, “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”
With the resurfacing of the clip, many people on Twitter brought up more racist or problematic comments from Bloomberg’s past, including a time he said public housing residents should be fingerprinted and when he said, “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
Despite his racist history, Bloomberg still has support from prominent Black leaders. Back in January, former civil rights activist and senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, endorsed Bloomberg. He was also brought on as the national co-chair for Bloomberg’s presidential campaign. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also endorsed Bloomberg last month.
It’s not just politicians and lawmakers that support Bloomberg either. Black faith leaders are also giving him their time, despite his racist history. On Tuesday, he met with over 20 Black leaders in the faith community at his campaign headquarters to talk about his 2020 faith outreach program led by Rev. Alisha Gordon. In response to the 2015 clip that received backlash, the faith leaders in the meeting issued a statement saying:
“While Donald Trump was calling Mike Bloomberg a racist, Mike was continuing his conversation with African-American clergy from around the country. He expressed regret over his past insensitivity regarding policies like stop and frisk and showed a continued interest in restorative justice. To be clear: None of us believe that Mike Bloomberg is a racist. Actions speak louder than words, and Mike has a long record of fighting for equality, civil rights, and criminal justice reform.”
The race continues it seems.
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