Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro responded Tuesday to a newly surfaced recording from a 2015 speech by Michael Bloomberg, in which the former mayor of New York City gave a full-throated defense of the controversial policing procedure known as “stop and frisk,” which has been panned by critics as racial profiling.
“Bloomberg’s only pitch for being president of the United States is that he was a half-decent mayor for New York City. But in the Democratic party, you’re not supposed to work on lowering crime rates, you’re supposed to run on ‘wokeness,'” Shapiro said on “The Ben Shapiro Show.“
Old video and audio footage dug up this week show Bloomberg wholeheartedly defending the police profiling of young New Yorkers – “male, minorities, 16-25” – as a way to cut down on crime. In another clip, he argued that minorities are stopped “too little” compared with white people.
The new footage sparked outrage among black voters, including prominent black Democratic lawmakers who called on the candidate to more forcefully disavow his controversial policy. As of early Tuesday, the hashtag “BloombergIsARacist” began trending on Twitter, leading some to suggest whether the audio could undermine the 2020 presidential candidate’s subsequent apologies for backing the policy and hurt his status with minority voters.
“We’ll see if this has an impact on the race…I’m kind of doubtful that it does,” Shapiro said.
“I’m doubtful that you’re going to see Bloomberg’s support in the black community completely collapse in the same way that Trump’s support in the Spanish community did not collapse,” he continued.
“Most people of Mexican descent in the country who support Trump are not off-put by the fact that Trump speaks in harsh language about illegal immigration.”
“The vast majority of black Americans are law-abiding people who want to live in safe communities and… so when they are told that police are inherently bad in all this, I don’t think most black Americans believe that.”
Questioning whether the clip will lead to the downfall of Bloomberg’s presidential bid, Shapiro seemed skeptical.
“When was the last time a Democrat was ejected from the Democratic party for something ideological? That never happens,” he said.
Bloomberg accused the GOP of trying to exploit racial divisions with the resurfaced footage, re-upping his apology Tuesday afternoon, and accused Trump of his own racist appeals. His apology came hours after Trump highlighted the footage, tweeting Bloomberg is a “racist,” before taking down his post without explanation.
“President Trump’s deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “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 percent, 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.”
Shapiro criticized Bloomberg’s apology and reiterated his support for “proactive policing.”
“If he had any stones, Bloomberg would say, ‘Listen, my policies help saved literally thousands of black and Hispanic lives in NYC.’ Proactive policing saves lives,” Shapiro said.
“If you want to lower crime rates that disproportionately affect people who are living in minority communities — which are high-crime areas — if you want to increase the economic growth in those areas, you need more policing, not less.”
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.