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In the latest resurfaced video from last spring, the three-time New York City mayor referred to transgender people as “he, she or it” and suggested that Democratic hopefuls could hurt their cause by spending time on the campaign trail addressing the rights of “some guy wearing a dress.”
Bloomberg made the eyebrow-raising comments during a forum sponsored by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in March 2019. BuzzFeed News first reported the video.
“If you go to the middle of the country, people would say, 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,” he said in the video. “They care about health care, they care about education, they care about safety and all those kinds of things.”
The Republican-turned-Democrat went on to say Democrats are “so far left” and should avoid talking about transgender people while on the campaign trail, suggesting that President Trump won the election in 2016 because of those stances.
“You can understand where somebody like Trump comes from; you can understand when you look at the Democratic Party, they are so far left that two years ago there was nobody on their side who would take these positions, and today virtually all the candidates for president of the Democratic Party have been so progressive,” he said.
Bloomberg’s comments sparked a swift condemnation from the president of the Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, who urged the 78-year-old billionaire to apologize for “using language that demoralizes and dehumanizes members of our community.”
“Transgender women aren’t ‘he-she or it,’ they’re women. LGBTQ people are human and deserve to be treated with respect,” David said in a statement.
The video emerged the same day that Bloomberg unveiled a new 60-second ad that features fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi touting the ex-mayor as a major proponent of “LBTBQ+” youth.
“I will always stand with the LGBTQ+ community,” Bloomberg wrote in a tweet accompanying the ad.
The remarks come just one week after Bloomberg came under fire for two separate resurfaced audio clips that revealed him defending "stop and frisk," the controversial policing strategy that disproportionately targeted men of color, and blaming the end of redlining, a discriminatory policy that cut off certain neighborhoods and potential homebuyers from mortgage lending opportunities, for the financial crisis.
He’s expected to face fierce criticism from his Democratic rivals at the Wednesday debate in Las Vegas, which he qualified for early Tuesday.