On Tuesday, Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign announced that Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and former mayors Nancy McFarlane and Charles Meeker had endorsed the 78-year-old bazillionaire, joining a lengthy list of mayors nationwide backing him, including Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles (though, notably, not Lyles’s daughter).
The endorsements come a day after Buzzfeed unearthed footage—from 11 months ago—of Bloomberg referring to transgender women as “it” and “some guy wearing a dress.”
That same day, the New York Post found video from 2011 of Mayor Stop-and-Frisk saying that young black and Latino men writ large lacked job skills and didn’t know how to “behave”: “There’s this enormous cohort of black and Latino males aged, let’s say, 16 to 25 that don’t have jobs, don’t have any prospects, don’t know how to find jobs, don’t know that the—what their skill sets are, don’t know how to behave in the workplace, where they have to work collaboratively and collectively.”
Bloomberg, now second in national polls, will participate in his first debate tonight. Perhaps the former Republican who was giving money to Republicans not long ago will have to answer for what he said and did prior to running for president as a Democrat.
Back to the matter at hand: Why would Raleigh’s self-described progressive mayor—a Democrat who opposed HB 2—back a man with a long history of saying shitty things about black and Latinx people, women, and trans folks, when there are plenty of other candidates who do not have records of saying shitty things about marginalized people who could use her support? (Maybe even a woman.)
This, after all, is what Bloomberg told a business group in March 2019—which is less than a year ago, not some bygone, less-enlightened era: “If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people.”
In other words, if you want Middle America on your side, send trans people to the back of the bus.
Does Baldwin think that’s acceptable, or maybe even good strategy? Or did she buy into Bloomberg campaign’s makeover video, which portrays him as a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community? Did Meeker and McFarlane, too, for that matter? (Disclosure: Charles Meeker is the brother of Richard Meeker, who owns the INDY. While Richard Meeker played no role in the INDY’s endorsements, he later told us that agreed with our decision.)
Baldwin didn’t respond to the INDY‘s request for comment, nor she did reply to the editor’s text message about the endorsement. (See right.)
She did, however, give the Bloomberg campaign this quote, which emphasizes his background as a mayor.
“I ran for mayor because I was frustrated by the lack of progress made on pressing issues like affordable housing, and barriers to accessing economic opportunity. This is not just happening at the state level, but nationwide, and it’s time for new leadership in the White House so we can start seeing real change. The choices we make to promote inclusiveness and progress are what make this country, and each of its cities, interesting. That is why I’m supporting Mike Bloomberg. As a former mayor, Mike knows the importance of making sure constituents feel heard and being the voice that brings their ideas forward. As president, his policies—from housing affordability to infrastructure and job creation—will address the needs of all kinds of people. His common-sense leadership is what our country needs right now and he has plans to deliver on his promises.”
Bloomberg, in turn, gushed over MAB.
“Mayor Baldwin is a strong leader who’s using her experience in business and philanthropy to drive an ambitious agenda in one of the fastest-growing parts of the country. Local leaders like Mayor Baldwin deserve a strong partner in the White House who will work closely with them to expand opportunity, foster entrepreneurship, and create affordable housing—and that’s what I’ll do as president. As the capital of a major swing state, Raleigh will play a critical role in November, and I’m honored to have Mayor Baldwin’s support.”
Judging by Baldwin’s Twitter mentions, news of the endorsement didn’t go over so well.
#Raleigh Mayor @maryannbaldwin just endorsed #Bloomberg. Remember that in 2021 when casting your vote for Mayor.
# of women accusing each candidate of sexual assault, sexual harassment or inappropriate touching:
➡️Bloomberg: 64 ⬅️
Everyone else: 0 https://t.co/bhH6ALnYUr— Zainab Baloch (@Zainab4Raleigh) February 19, 2020
@NancyMcFarlane and @maryannbaldwin should be ashamed. This man is a racist, sexist authoritarian *who changed the rules so only he could serve a third term.*
Real masks-off moment here for a lot of Democrats I guess. https://t.co/YS60cqmv18— Matt Werner (@mwerner2112) February 19, 2020
I am so heartbroken. #RaleighNC Mayor @maryannbaldwin endorsed #Bloomberg who months ago called trans women “men in dresses” and ran a racial profiling program. I may disagree with many candidates, but Bloomberg is literally a slap in the face to black and brown communities.— Italo Medelius (@italo_m_m) February 19, 2020
This primary season really has been just a series of betrayals by figures I’ve looked up to in this party. I have to wonder if they understand all the ways they’re burning bridges with the party’s youth, who will find it hard to ever trust them again— Elijah J. Mears (@ElijahJMears) February 19, 2020
Really disappointing to learn my mayor, @maryannbaldwin, is comfortable enough with this, along with both racist and islamophobic police policies, as well as a long trail of sexual harrassment and gender discrimination. Must’ve been one hell of a donation. https://t.co/sJjUo2yFc0— colin (@acslaterjeans) February 19, 2020
@NancyMcFarlane and @maryannbaldwin just endorsed Bloomberg and I am beyond disappointed. There have been so many qualified and solid candidates on the debate stage and Bloomberg just bought two endorsements without saying a word. #shameful— Andrea Shipman (@AJS721) February 19, 2020
Wrong choice, @maryannbaldwin and @NancyMcFarlane. Bloomberg is the worst of the Democratic candidates by far due to his racist and authoritarian policies as mayor. Your endorsement of him makes me question my past support for you. https://t.co/649xit6g9o— Jeff Woodhead (@jeffwoodhead) February 19, 2020
.@maryannbaldwin – glad to see you are happy to endorse a racist, sexist, bigoted sexual predator to be President. Bloomberg is a Republican attempting to disguise himself as a Democrat, looks like you might be that way too. What a hack.— Kristen Hill 🗽🩸🦷 (@KristenAbigail) February 19, 2020
In fairness, it wasn’t all bad. The people on Bloomberg’s payroll were happy.
Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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