Michael Bloomberg secured a spot on Arizona’s Democratic primary ballot Tuesday and kicked off a massive ad spree that spans the state — but he couldn’t escape questions about the most controversial policy he oversaw as mayor of New York City.
Just two days fresh off his 2020 announcement, Bloomberg jetted into Phoenix and filed primary paperwork at the city’s state capitol before chowing down on Mexican food at a local cantina.
The 77-year-old billionaire has made flipping red states like Arizona a key priority of his nascent presidential bid.
Also Tuesday, Bloomberg launched a $100 million ad campaign targeting voters in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all states that President Donald Trump won by thin margins in 2016.
But Bloomberg’s past also came back to haunt him.
Asked after lunch why he recently flip-flopped on his longtime support for the New York Police Department’s stop and frisk policy, Bloomberg grew a bit combative and urged people to “get on with it.”
“Looking back, we sort of got carried away and did a lot more than we should have. It was a mistake. None of us do everything perfectly,” Bloomberg told reporters. “I’m sorry it happened. I can’t rewrite history, let’s get on with it now.”
But some of the victims of stop and frisk are not so eager to just let it go.
Several black New Yorkers who were targeted by the aggressive police tactic recently told The New York Daily News they don’t buy Bloomberg’s about-face, which came days before he announced his 2020 campaign.
“He’s been out of office for seven years. Now that he’s running for president, he apologizes? It’s a little too late,” said Milan Taylor, a stop and frisk victim from Queens.
Stop and frisk is among the political baggage that has posed an obstacle for Bloomberg as he vies for the Democratic nomination to take on Trump next year.
Another hurdle is overcoming the perception he’s just another deep-pocketed rich guy trying to buy an election.
“Some billionaires figured it might be cheaper to run for president than pay my wealth tax,” Elizabeth Warren tweeted Tuesday in a thinly-veiled jab at Bloomberg. “Well, they don’t have the power of a grassroots movement — and in our democracy, I believe in the power of people over money.”