Mike Bloomberg took heat on Friday after saying in a CBS interview that fellow 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker is "very well-spoken."
When asked about a recent jab by Booker - who said "there's more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people," Bloomberg replied "Cory Booker endorsed me a number of times, and I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times."
"He's very well-spoken. He's got some good ideas. It would be better the more diverse any group is, but the public is out there picking and choosing, and narrowing down this field," he added.
Booker, who is black, said in a Friday SiriusXM said Bloomberg's comments play into "tired tropes" about African Americans, adding "The fact that they don't understand is problematic."
Bloomberg later acknowledged on Friday while speaking with reporters after an Agusta, GA campaign event "I probably shouldn't have used the word."
Booker – in his interview – said that “this is part of the campaign and lots of people say things that they wish they could take back and I’m sure people, if Mike gets it now and I hope people around him are talking to him about why that plays into what is for the black community in particular just, these are signs of frustration that we continue to deal with.”
Booker pointed to the numerous blackface controversies this year and added “I don’t think folks understand with Kamala dropping out of the race, why so many people, friends of mine and family members of mine who weren’t even supporting her, found insulting, not being in this race with her qualifications, her experience, her talent and her gifts and other people are -- who frankly are, very bluntly, do not have her same record.”
The senator emphasized that “I think that what we as a party have to understand is that we can’t win without the, not just African-American vote, but we can’t win without the enthusiastic support of black voters.” -Fox News
Echoes of Biden, Reid
Bloomberg's comments echoed similar racial gaffes from then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
During the 2008 election when Biden and Obama were rival candidates, Biden described the future president as the "first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Obama clearly forgave Biden, as he named him as his running mate later in the cycle.
Harry Reid, meanwhile, took heat in the 2010 book Game Change, which quoted him as saying in a private conversation that Obama was "light-skinned" and had "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."
encouragement of Obama was unequivocal. He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination. -Game Change, 2010
Reid later apologized, saying "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments."