Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week that the U.S. needs “an awful lot more immigrants rather than less.”
Bloomberg, who formally hopped on the 2020 campaign trail earlier this week, made the comment during a stop at a Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, Ariz., adding immigrants are needed “to take all the different kinds of jobs that the country needs — improve our culture, our cuisine, our religion, our dialogue and certainly improve our economy.”
Bloomberg entered the race relatively late and observers have speculated he was nervous about the other candidates’ ability to beat Trump. Bloomberg’s own campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, said on Monday that Trump was “winning” the 2020 election.
“It’s very tough for people who don’t live in New York or California to understand that, but that is what’s happening,” Sheekey told CNN. “Mike was doing everything he could from the sidelines and he finally decided it wasn’t enough to sit on the sidelines and he needed to do what he could to alter that dynamic.”
The billionaire Bloomberg is a perceived moderate who has run for office as a Republican and would be competing in a field of Democrats that have pushed sweeping progressive policies.
He also blasted Trump’s policies that resulted in the separation of families arriving at the border. “Ripping kids away from their parents is a disgrace,” he said.
Trump won after touting a hard-line immigration policy, including the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. His immigration policies have come under continuous fire from Democrats.
Bloomberg also reiterated his Nov. 17 apology for supporting New York’s “stop-and-frisk” police strategy, a practice that he embraced as mayor and continued to defend despite claims that it had a disproportionate impact on people of color.
He said it was a mistake but also credited it with reducing New York’s murder rate.
“How many times do you hear elected officials say, ‘I made a mistake’?” Bloomberg said. “None of us do everything perfectly. I’m sorry it happened, I can’t rewrite history. Let’s get on with it.”