President Donald Trump’s hypocrisy was highlighted on Fox News Tuesday after he had joined the outcry against Michael Bloomberg’s comments several years ago defending the stop-and-frisk policing policy ― for which Trump has been a vocal advocate.
Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, faced backlash on Tuesday when an old audio clip resurfaced from a speech he gave in Colorado in 2015. In the recording, he defends the policy that was in place during his 2002-13 mayoral administration as a way to reduce violence. Touting his push to get guns off the streets, he said one way to do that was to throw kids from minority neighborhoods “up against the walls and frisk them.”
In joining the criticism targeting Bloomberg on Tuesday, Trump slammed him as a “total racist” in a since-deleted tweet. And both his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and campaign manager Brad Parscale pushed the Bloomberg recording on Twitter.
On Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing,” Parscale also blasted Bloomberg, telling host Dana Perino, “I don’t think all the money in the world could undo that.”
“It was very demeaning, the characterization” of minority neighborhoods, Parscale said. “I think he’s in a very difficult spot.”
Perino then noted to Parscale that Trump had vocally supported the policy, showing a clip of the president speaking at a police convention in Orlando, Florida, in 2018.
In the video, Trump praises Bloomberg’s mayoral predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, for his “very strong program of stop and frisk.” Giuliani, who served as mayor from 1994-2001, started the policy.
Trump in his 2018 remarks said New York went from “unacceptably dangerous to one of the safest cities in the country... So it works. It’s got to be properly applied but stop-and-frisk works.”
Parscale dodged addressing the president’s support of the policy, and did not explain why Trump backtracked on his tweet about Bloomberg.
“I can’t talk to you about exactly why he deleted the tweet, but I’ll tell you it’s not about just the policy. Listen to that comment, the demeaning, the characterization... it’s a very demoralizing thing,” he said.
While the stop-and-frisk tactic was first introduced by Giuliani, it expanded significantly under Bloomberg’s administration. The policy allowed police officers to temporarily detain, question and search civilians for potential weapons or contraband, and statistics show that Black and Latin communities were the overwhelming focus of the practice.
In his statement Tuesday, Bloomberg said his past comments about stop-and-frisk “do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity.” He denounced Trump’s tweet as an effort to divide Americans, claiming the attack “clearly reflects his fear over the growing strength of my campaign.”
Bloomberg had apologized for his administration’s enforcement of the policy last November, days before announcing his 2020 presidential bid.
The tactic was ruled unconstitutional and a violation of civil rights by a federal judge in 2013.