Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday endorsed former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s run for the presidency, amid controversy this week over his former stop-and-frisk policy.
Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, Lucy McBath of Georgia and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands all endorsed Bloomberg’s run without mention of the disputed policing tactic.
A 2015 audio recording surfaced this week where the three-term NYC mayor gave a full-throated defense of procedure known as “stop and frisk," which served to undermine subsequent apologies for backing the policy that some say disproportionately affected minorities.
"Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops," he said at the time.
"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,” Bloomberg can be heard saying in the audio recording.
He also says he “put all the cops in minority neighborhoods” because “that’s where all the crime is.”
Bloomberg released a statement Tuesday saying he “inherited” the practice, and cut it back by 95 percent by the time he left office. He admitted he “should’ve done it sooner and faster.”
Nonetheless, three black Democratic lawmakers accepted Bloomberg’s apology.
“Mike gave grieving mothers like me a way to stand up and fight back,” said McBath, whose 17-year-old son was shot and killed by a white man in 2012 over a dispute about loud music. “Nobody running for president has done more for the gun violence prevention movement than Mike.” The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, co-founded and heavily funded by Bloomberg, spent $1.25 million on McBath’s run for office, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.
Meeks, whose district falls in the city where Bloomberg led as mayor for 12 years, touted the wealthy philanthropist’s work as mayor.
“As mayor, he made promises with concrete plans to see them through. As president, he will do the same,” Meeks said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Mike as we revitalize overlooked communities, enable wealth creation for working families, and fight back against Donald Trump who continues to threaten our fundamental American values."
Plaskett spoke to Bloomberg’s help after her district was ravaged by two major hurricanes.
“The Virgin Islands were crippled after two massive hurricanes, but Mike immediately stepped up to help and lent his physical, financial and moral support,” Plaskett said.
“As a Caribbean and a New Yorker, I like a fighter and 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,” she added.
Bloomberg, despite not competing in the first four state caucuses -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- has surged in public opinion polls after pouring hundreds of millions of his own money into campaign ads on national airwaves. As a moderate Democrat, Bloomberg hopes to begin winning votes on Super Tuesday, March 3, when his name will be on the ballot in 14 state nominating contests.