Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said that President Donald Trump approved of “stop-and-frisk” when the highly controversial policing strategy was carried out under former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but thought it was “abused” when Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg was mayor of the city.
Bloomberg has long faced criticism for the “stop-and-frisk” policy, which significantly escalated under the billionaire businessman’s tenure as New York mayor from 2002 to 2013. That criticism resurfaced last week as the former Republican has surged in national polls for the Democratic presidential nomination. The policing strategy disproportionately targeted New York’s minority communities, leading many to call “stop-and-frisk” and the former mayor “racist.”
As clips of Bloomberg defending the policy in 2013 and 2015 circulated widely on social media last week, the hashtag #BloombergIsRacist trended on Twitter. Trump briefly jumped on the criticism by tweeting “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!”, before deleting the post shortly later. Many were quick to criticize Trump, noting his history of racist remarks and his previous defense of “stop-and-frisk” itself.
CNN anchor Dana Bash confronted Short in a Sunday interview over Trump’s deleted tweet, comparing it to several clips of the president speaking favorably of “stop-and-frisk” during his 2016 campaign. “If supporting ‘stop-and-frisk’ makes Mike Bloomberg ‘a total racist,’ what does that say about President Trump who supported it?” Bash asked.
Short responded by saying that Trump approved of the policy under Giuliani, who now serves as the president’s personal attorney, but no longer approved when it was expanded under Bloomberg. The Pence aide said that the program was expanded “exponentially” under the billionaire Democratic presidential hopeful.
“He [Trump] felt the policy was executed well under Mayor Giuliani, but it was abused under Mayor Bloomberg,” Short said.
As Short noted, the “stop-and-frisk” policy was greatly expanded under Bloomberg’s administration. Although the former New York mayor had long defended the policing strategy, he apologized publicly just before launching his presidential campaign in late November. However, he has also continued to suggest that it was an effective strategy to stop crime.
“We did the best thing that we can. I think it had something to do with it [the decline in crime],” Bloobmerg said during a January interview with The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Clips of Bloomberg defending the policy in 2013, his last year as mayor, and then in 2015 were widely shared online over the past week. “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 during 2015 remarks to the Aspen Institute.
Bloomberg has attempted to argue that he only inherited the policy and then worked to end it after he realized that it was disproportionately harming minority communities. But his statements in 2013 and 2015 show that he publicly expressed support for the policy in his last year as mayor as well as after leaving office.
Additionally, data shows that the number of annual stops in New York increased by about 700 percent during Bloomberg’s time in office, from 2002 to 2011. They increased from about just under 100,000 annually when he became mayor to nearly 700,000 per year, according to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union of New York. Although the number of stops declined in Bloomberg’s final two years, they remained about twice as high in 2013 as his first year in office.
Giuliani also criticized Bloomberg for now trying to backtrack from his previous support for “stop-and-frisk” during a Sunday interview. “He was 100 percent in favor of that program. As enthusiastic about it as I was,” Trump’s lawyer told radio host John Catsimatidis.
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