Billionaire Michael Bloomberg suddenly feels regret — just in time for his run for president. As mayor of New York for 12 years, Bloomberg oversaw an aggressive, tough on crime, stop-and-frisk policy that disproportionately targeted African Americans and Latinos. And for that he is sorry.
That wasn’t his story a few months ago. Before he decided to jump in the race to unseat President Donald Trump, Bloomberg was not a fan of admitting wrong and maligned an apology culture in politics.
He mocked presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke for bowing to pressure: Biden for an “apology tour” after criticism of a crime bill some believe led to the mass incarceration of black men, and O’Rourke for apologizing for his white privilege.
Yet, there was Bloomberg a couple of weeks ago standing before a congregation at an African American megachurch in Brooklyn seeking mercy.
He had not yet announced his run for president, but the rumors were strong that he was. Despite trash-talking Biden, now his, political rival, Bloomberg needs the African American vote, which accounts for about a fifth of Democrats.
Voters are holding candidates accountable for their past actions, but they shouldn’t stop their scrutiny at these apologies of convenience. Candidates need to prove their case beyond words. If not, people should show their displeasure at the ballot.
Like with the other candidates in the race, we predict Bloomberg won’t be able to brush off such an issue that has morphed into an indictment of the fairness of the justice system.
Biden learned the consequences of his past when his healthy lead slowly diminished after a few guffaws as he at first tried to ignore his role as author of the now highly polarized crime bill. Biden also appeared to praise the civility of segregationist senators he worked with in the past.
A reply two weeks after the outcry for took too long to come for some people and was far too tepid for others.
Candidate Pete Buttigieg has tried to improve his reputation with African Americans with an 18-page platform of policy and reforms that would benefit those voters. He pledged to fund HBCUs in a recent op-ed.
Unfortunately for Buttigieg, a good majority of African Americans aren’t buying his spiel, including those in South Bend, Ind., where he is mayor.
Too many residents there say he didn’t have a handle on injustices against blacks in the police department and economic racial inequalities that persist in the city.
Time will tell if Bloomberg’s speech was enough to shield him enough from criticism not to hurt his presidential bid. Or if people will see through his apology.
— The Baltimore Sun