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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.
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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."
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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.
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President Trump deleted a tweet calling presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg a "total racist." Trump posted, then deleted, a tweet along with audio of Bloomberg discussing New York's "stop-and-frisk" policy that reduced violent crimes in his city.
In the war of billionaires, Trump tweeted, then deleted: "WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!", according to published reports.
Trump rarely ever deletes a tweet. Some political analysts say it is an indication that someone in his inner circle warned him that he went too far.
In a statement to The Wrap, the former New York mayor said, "President Trump's deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans. I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused. By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner."
In the audio linked to Trump's tweet, Bloomberg praised the policy and suggested that the majority of the people who were stopped by police were white. He hinted that the perpetrators of violent gun crimes were not white.
"95 percent of your murders, murderers and murder victims, fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops: They are male, minorities 16 to 25. That's true in New York. It's true in virtually every city."
Bloomberg apologized in his statement to The Wrap. "I regret that and I have apologized. I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities."
But Black Twitter noted that Bloomberg, at age 77, is too old to change his racist thought process, now that he is running for president.
Trump's re-election campaign manager, Brad Perscale, also tweeted #BloombergIsaRacist. Perscale did not delete his tweet.
A new NYPD program is stirring more controversy than the policy that it was designed to replace. The New York Police Department's "Stop-and-Kiss" program is an effort to tamp down the complaints of the NYPD's controversial Stop-and-frisk program that critics say targets black and Hispanic men.
Critics are calling the NYPD's Stop-and-Kiss program a violation of privacy. Thousands took to the streets earlier this week to protest the new program. The new policy allows officers to kiss anyone who they believe looks suspicious.
New Yorkers who complain that they have been stopped and kissed say the new policy is even more intrusive than the Stop-and-frisk policy.
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