A debate over former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg got heated Friday as author Gianno Caldwell squared off with former House Democrats press secretary Rochelle Ritchie.
Both Ritchie and Caldwell joined “The Story” with guest host Ed Henry to talk about Bloomberg — specifically comments that have created a bit of a race problem for the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful. (RELATED: ‘Throw Them Up Against The Wall’: Bloomberg Aggressively Defended ‘Stop And Frisk’ In 2015)
Henry asked “what kind of heat” Bloomberg was likely to face, and Caldwell was first to respond.
“This isn’t just about Michael Bloomberg, 2020 Democrats are not fighting for the title who’s the least racist among them because every viable candidate has significant race issues,” Caldwell began, arguing that the Democratic Party had always been anti-black. “Biden is attacking Bloomberg, when he is not only the creator of the ‘94 crime bill but also the architect of the ’86 crack laws. African-American voters should be concerned that their only options on the Democrat side have worked to marginalize them.”
Ritchie defended Bloomberg, saying that his remarks were being taken out of context in order to put a specific spin on what he was saying. “When I watched that video, this man is actually saying that the method used to end redlining is the problem,” she explained. “He was not saying that we should have redlining and we should have this discriminatory practice.”
“That’s what frustrated people, the way he was categorizing black people,” Henry cut in.
“That’s why you have to watch it again. He says the banks were telling the salespeople that ‘those people’ — he was not saying that —” Ritchie continued, arguing that Bloomberg was actually attributing the offending quotes to the banks rather than saying them himself.
Henry turned back to Caldwell, asking, “Is that good enough for you?”
“No,” Caldwell replied, saying that Bloomberg often spoke of African Americans in “harsh” tones. “This isn’t something that’s unique to Michael Bloomberg. This is something that we see from Democrats all across the country.”
Caldwell went on to tell a story about attending a Democratic debate, claiming that former Vice President Joe Biden’s team had used racially charged language against him when they recognized him from Fox News. “These folks came at me and used all kinds of racially charged language —” he said.
“They’re gonna say racially charged language at you regardless of you being a conservative —” Ritchie interrupted.
“Hold on, Rochelle! Rochelle, let me finish,” Caldwell shot back.
“Regardless of you being a conservative, Gianno, regardless of you being a conservative —” Ritchie kept pushing back.
“Rochelle! See, this is the thing,” Caldwell protested. “If you don’t have anything to say that’s fact-based and you want to argue —”
“Well, you’re talking about yourself, but go ahead,” Ritchie shrugged.
“I’m talking about my personal experiences with Joe Biden’s team,” Caldwell said. “I’ve got video and Instagram which proves it. I’m not talking about something I’m making it up.”