Politics

‘I Can Teach Anybody … To Be A Farmer’: Bloomberg Once Belittled Agriculture And Factory Workers

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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At a 2016 business forum, Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg belittled farmers and factory workers, saying “I can teach anybody … to be a farmer.”

Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during a campaign rally on Feb.12, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

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Speaking to the Distinguished Speakers Series at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, Bloomberg was explaining why he believed there was a cultural and political divide in America: farmers and factory workers just didn’t have the “gray matter” to adjust to the information age.

“The agrarian society lasted 3,000 years and we could teach processes. I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg said.

“It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that. Then we had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs.” (RELATED: ‘You’re A F**king Fascist!’ — Second Amendment Activists Heckle Mike Bloomberg In Virginia)

But the multi-billionaire businessman said the information economy is not so simple because “the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze” and that is “fundamentally different,” from agriculture or manufacturing, he told the audience.

“You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter. It’s not clear the teachers can teach or the students can learn, and so the challenge of society of finding jobs for these people, who we can take care of giving them a roof over their head and a meal in their stomach and a cell phone and a car and that sort of thing.” (RELATED: Bloomberg Rises To Top, Biden Plummets, In Florida Poll)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks while visiting "Building Momentum," a veteran owned business in Alexandria, Virginia on Feb. 7, 2020. (Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Bloomberg has been plagued of late by comments he made before announcing his presidential bid. His previous political experience has been as mayor of New York City, where he promoted the “stop and frisk” policy that targeted minorities when police stopped people on the street to search for weapons or drugs.

Bloomberg apologized for that policy but audio from a Feb. 6, 2015 Aspen Security Institute event recently surfaced where the former mayor was vigorously defending stop and frisk, even if police had to  “throw” minority males “up against the wall and frisk them.”