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Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg wants voters to think he was an unrepentant racist until he decided to run for president of the United States.

Bloomberg is backtracking after he declared minorities were responsible for most of the crime in his jurisdiction when he was mayor.

In recently unearthed audio tapes, the 77-year-old billionaire defended his policy of aggressively policing minority neighborhoods.

In a 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg said he needed to get guns out of the hands of individuals who are "male, minority, and between the ages of 15 and 25."

He said statistics of violent crimes committed by armed individuals were down during that period because police were ordered to throw young Black males "up against the wall and frisk them."

He admitted "we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods... because that's where all the crime is."

Clips from the speech went viral on Tuesday. President Trump tweeted one of the audio clips, before deleting his tweet. "WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!" Trump wrote.

Photo by George Napolitano/FilmMagic

Bloomberg is offering $150 to "influencers", such as pseudo-singer Beyonce, who make positive posts about him on social media and blogs.

"All the money in the world can't undo this," tweeted Trump's re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale, who quoted Bloomberg: "The way you get guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against the wall."

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Last week, Bloomberg's camp aired a campaign ad featuring former President Barack Obama endorsing the NY billionaire who, like Obama, favors gun control in minority neighborhoods.