Bloomberg: Stop and frisk comments in 2015 'not the way that I think'

Democratic presidential candidate Michael BloombergMichael BloombergTrump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida MORE said controversial remarks he made in 2015 about stop and frisk are not indicative of the way he thinks or the way he led New York City during his tenure as mayor.

Bloomberg was pressed at a campaign event in Chattanooga, Tenn., Wednesday as to why he said in 2015 that the practice was a way to curb crime by throwing minority kids "up against the walls" and frisking them. Bloomberg added in the resurfaced audio that "95 percent" of "murders and murderers and murder victims" are male minorities between the ages of 16 to 25. 

"I don't think those words reflect what, how I led the most diverse city in the nation. And I apologized for the practice and the pain that it caused," Bloomberg said when asked by a reporter about the remarks. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"It was five years ago," he added when pressed again. "And, you know, it's just not the way that I think and it ... doesn't reflect what I do every day. I led the most populous, largest city in the United States and got reelected three times, the public seemed to like what I do."

Bloomberg, who is waging a White House campaign backed by his personal fortune, has grappled with a days-long effort to contain the fallout from the controversy as he tries to gin up support for his presidential bid. Studies have shown that the police practice was ineffective in reducing crime and overwhelmingly targeted New Yorkers of color.

Both President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE and his campaign manager, Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE, jumped on the resurfaced audio Tuesday, saying it was evidence that Bloomberg was a “complete racist.”

Tom SteyerTom SteyerTV ads favored Biden 2-1 in past month Inslee calls Biden climate plan 'perfect for the moment' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration finalizes plan to open up Alaska wildlife refuge to drilling | California finalizes fuel efficiency deal with five automakers, undercutting Trump | Democrats use vulnerable GOP senators to get rare win on environment MORE, another billionaire 2020 contender, also called the clip “extremely disturbing.” 

“By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner," Bloomberg said in a statement this week. "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."