Bloomberg defends record on race, blasts Trump

Democratic presidential candidate Michael BloombergMichael BloombergIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned .7 billion expected to be spent in 2020 campaign despite coronavirus: report MORE defended his record on race relations as President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE and his campaign highlighted the former mayor's defense of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” practice.

"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,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

“By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities.”

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Both Trump and his campaign manager, Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE, on Tuesday highlighted an unearthed clip of the former mayor defending the policy, saying, “Ninety-five 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.”

Trump, who has himself defended the practice and called for it to be applied nationwide, saying it “worked incredibly well” in New York in 2016, called Bloomberg a “TOTAL RACIST” in a since-deleted tweet.

In his statement released by his presidential campaign, Bloomberg appeared to backtrack on the comments he made in the clip, noting that he has been committed to racial justice and combatting racial inequality. He also cited his work with former President Obama. 

“This issue and my comments about it do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity. I believe we need to end mass incarceration and during my tenure we reduced incarceration by 40% and juvenile confinement by more than 60%" the statement read.

"We created the Young Men's Initiative to help young men of color stay on track for success, which President Obama built on to create My Brother's Keeper. And we overhauled a school system that had been neglecting and underfunding schools in Black and Latino communities for too long,” the former mayor continued.

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Bloomberg then went on to criticize Trump and the tenure of his presidency. 

"In contrast, President Trump inherited a country marching towards greater equality and divided us with racist appeals and hateful rhetoric," Bloomberg added. "The challenge of the moment is clear: we must confront this President and do everything we can to defeat him."

A federal judge ruled the "stop-and-frisk" policy in practice was racially discriminatory in 2013, the last year of Bloomberg’s term. Bloomberg has since defended the practice, but he formally apologized shortly after announcing his presidential campaign in November.