Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s comments about rural Colorado voters’ stance on gun issues has many in the state calling the billionaire “out of touch.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, titled “Michael Bloomberg Isn’t Afraid of the NRA,” Bloomberg discussed last September’s recall of three Democratic state senators backed by his pro-gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
“In Colorado, we got a law passed. The NRA went after two or three state senators in a part of Colorado where I don’t think there’s roads,” said Bloomberg in the interview which is set to be published Monday. It was accidentally posted at the magazine’s website Wednesday, but was taken down.
“It’s as far rural as you can get,” he continued. “And, yes, they lost recall elections. I’m sorry for that. We tried to help ‘em. But the bottom line is, the law is on the books, and being enforced. You can get depressed about the progress, but on the other hand, you’re saving a lot of lives.”
With the help of Bloomberg’s group, Democrats were able to pass a bill expanding background checks and banning magazines with more than 15 rounds. In response, gun rights supporters began mounting a recall effort last summer, succeeding in two of the state’s largest cities — Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
Bloomberg’s comments about those areas’ lack of civilization have upset many, including one of the Republicans who benefited from the recall.
“Michael Bloomberg is absolutely out of touch with the values of Pueblo,” said state Sen. George Rivera, according to the Colorado Observer. “In Pueblo, we value our Second Amendment rights and we don’t appreciate East Coast elites stereotyping us as some area so remote that we don’t even have roads.”
Rivera replaced Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron in the Sept. 10 recall.
“Pueblo is a proud city composed of proud people from all different walks of life, and, while it might be hard for a New York billionaire to comprehend, we do in fact have roads and running water,” said Rivera.
The two most prominent Republicans challenging Democrats in November pounced on Bloomberg’s remarks.
“Just for the record, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Jefferson County all have roads. I just traveled them,” Bob Beauprez, who is challenging Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, told KDVR.
“Michael Bloomberg’s infuriatingly ignorant remarks show how far removed he is from Colorado, and how wrong John Hickenlooper was to let Bloomberg force his radical agenda on Colorado.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, who is challenging Mark Udall for his senate seat, called on the Democrat to disavow Bloomberg’s comments.
“Senator Udall and his biggest supporters continue to show what they really think of Coloradans,” Gardner said in a statement, according to the Colorado Observer. “Does Senator Udall agree with Michael Bloomberg? His continued silence is leaving Coloradans little room to believe otherwise.”
But Udall’s camp responded later, distancing the senator from Bloomberg’s comments.
“Not since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attacked Colorado’s way of life has an east coaster gotten us so wrong,” Udall spokesman James Owens said, according to KDVR. “Christie and Bloomberg should stick to what they know best: traffic jams and tiny sodas.”