UPDATED: 10:23 a.m. ET, March 4 —
Michael Bloomberg has suspended his presidential campaign after a dismal showing in Super Tuesday voting across the country. The billionaire who has spent nearly $600 million on his failed campaign announced he was endorsing Joe Biden to be the president.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been making his rounds shaking hands and kissing babies in the Black community following his declaration as a candidate in the democratic presidential race less than three months ago. The billionaire, who is widely known and also vehemently criticized for his unconstitutional stop and frisk policy, which disproportionately targeted Black and brown New Yorkers, has still managed to surge in the national polls among Black voters. But also, Bloomberg has secured endorsements from a number of Black politicians and leaders, who are standing by the democratic candidate despite his woeful performance on the debate stage on Wednesday night.
Bloomberg took jabs from all angles as the candidates he shared the stage with, as well as the moderators, took turns highlighting and questioning the intentions behind his “abhorrent” racist policy and his support of redlining. To which, he gave meager and underwhelming responses.
Despite his troubling history, which was expectedly the subject matter of his debate stage debut, the Black politicians and leaders who have been showing their support for the former mayor don’t appear to be having second thoughts. And if they are, those notions have not been displayed on a public forum.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Bloomberg has received endorsements from three members of the Congressional Black Caucus – Democratic U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks of New York City, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands and U.S. Representative Lucy McBath of Georgia – whose son Jordan Davis was murdered by a white man for playing music loudly in his car.
Democratic U.S. Representative Bobby Rush of Illinois announced his endorsement for Bloomberg in January. However, the aforementioned Black politicians are on a list of nearly two dozen other Black leaders who have publicly avowed their support for the former New York City mayor.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards has endorsed Bloomberg despite his shaky track record. “I proudly endorse Mike Bloomberg based on his experience leading America’s largest city and his commitment to strengthening our nation and all its communities. That’s the kind of leader our country needs more than ever,” she said in a press release according to The News Tribune.
However, the question is, what has encouraged these Black politicians and leaders to give their support to a democratic candidate who essentially terrorized Black and brown men in New York City in an attempt to supposedly reduce crime, blamed redlining on the financial crisis in 2008 which seemingly defended the systematic and racist practice that kept wealth from Black and brown people in America, stated that he thought the NYPD “acted in good faith” when they arrested and charged the Central Park 5, and quite frankly, the list goes on.
Bloomberg has apologized for his checkered racist past, which some Black folks – well a lot of Black folks – have deemed disingenuous.
He has even been called out by his fellow Democratic candidates. Joe Biden called his stop and frisk policy “abhorrent,” and said it was a “violation of every right people have.”
“It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning, and if you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren during Wednesday night’s debate.
“You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor,” she added.
Bloomberg repeated that he has apologized for his racist policy and statements, but his message has remained constant, which is that he is spending his money to “get rid of Trump,” as he said to Reuters in January.
The common phrase is that “money talks,” but folks are questioning the sincerity of some of the endorsements he has received from Black politicians and leaders as he has donated to some of their causes. “Mike Bloomberg is systematically buying off mayors across the country,” tweeted broadcast journalist Michael Tracey. “Bloomberg Philanthropies has given millions of dollars to Washington, DC during Bowser’s mayoralty.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies made a $4 million investment in DC Public Schools in 2015, along with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, according to Bowser’s site.
Rep. McBath was a beneficiary of Bloomberg’s Everytown Gun Safety in 2018, receiving more than $4.3 million, according to ABC News. Independence USA PAC, which is also backed by Bloomberg, spent $150,000 in support of McBath. The billionaire candidate additionally donated $5,600 to McBath in November for her reelection campaign.
Bloomberg has also donated $5 million to former Georgia Representative Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight organization to end voter suppression. Abrams has not yet revealed who she will be endorsing.
While it cannot be asserted that Bloomberg’s endorsements from Black politicians and leaders are monetarily motivated, it is certainly a topic of conversation as the number of his Black endorsers increases.