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Bloomberg blames Trump for 'inciting' hate after Pittsburgh shooting

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday sharply criticized President Donald Trump's response to th...

Posted: Oct 30, 2018 10:21 AM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 10:21 AM

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday sharply criticized President Donald Trump's response to the deadly mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, saying Trump is partly responsible for the rise in hate and violence.

"When he goes around getting people to scream and hate, bad things happen and you saw the results here," said Bloomberg. He went on to say that the President "should be unifying and instead he is exciting people, inciting people."

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Bloomberg, who has been openly flirting with a Democratic presidential bid in 2020, told CNN in an exclusive interview in Minnesota that there are consequences to words.

"The President's words matter more than anybody else and his job, I've always thought, is to be a unifier, not to be the leader of a party, but to be the leader of this country," Bloomberg said.

The President has continued attacking the news media in the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting, as well last week's series of pipe bomb mailings to prominent Democrats and CNN.

Bloomberg said "perhaps" Trump did not understand he should seek to unify people, but stressed repeatedly in the interview that he believed Trump was using his position in an irresponsible way.

"You don't use the bully pulpit as the President of the United States to rile up people and say things as a joke or as a campaign promise," Bloomberg said. "That's not what the President should be doing. The President's words matter. He's not an average person. He's the President, and with the presidency comes an obligation to set a moral standard for this country and to unite people."

Bloomberg was careful, however, not to lay blame on Republicans generally. "Not every Republican is a racist," he said. "Not every Republican agrees with the President."

When asked whether House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy should have sent and subsequently deleted a tweet which suggested that three billionaires (Bloomberg, George Soros and Tom Steyer) were buying the midterms, Bloomberg responded: "I think he shouldn't. The good thing is nobody knows who he is."

Bloomberg also said there are "an awful lot of Democrats that don't stand up."

"There's plenty of blame to go around this country on both sides," Bloomberg said. "But I do think that if you look, the Republicans have been in control of the House and the Senate. They have not exercised their constitutional responsibility to provide a check and balance on the White House."

Yet to decide on 2020

Bloomberg declined to say if he will run for president in 2020, saying he is focused on the November 6 midterms.

The former New York mayor recently re-registered as a Democrat and has become an open antagonist of Trump heading into the midterms. The billionaire has pumped more than $110 million into efforts to support Democratic candidates around the country.

Bloomberg said that he would continue to consider a run even if former Vice President Joe Biden -- who Bloomberg described as a "competent American" -- jumps in the race.

"I have a case to present, if I'd like to present it," Bloomberg said. "And if the public likes it, that's fine, and if they don't, that's what freedom of choice is."

Bloomberg said if he were to run, he would present his record as "somebody who actually does things" and hopes voters would be receptive.

Bloomberg said while he thought "a large percentage" of Democrats would welcome him in the primaries, though he said he rejects some of the party's positions.

"I don't agree with everything that the Democratic establishment has dictated as their positions," Bloomberg said. "I come from a world of being practical. ... Having grand schemes that we probably can't afford, that a lot of people wouldn't like, is a good way to elect Donald Trump to another four years."

Calls for gun control

Bloomberg, who has increasingly tied his public profile to gun control, sat down with CNN alongside Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Bloomberg has been advocating for more gun safety laws for years. He formalized the effort with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in 2006. The two created a coalition with other mayors around the country. That group eventually morphed into Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that is backed by multiple donors of which Bloomberg is largest.

Earlier Monday, Bloomberg publicly called for stricter gun control during an appearance in Detroit at CityLab, an event put on with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

He made the same appeal in St. Paul, Minnesota at an event for Moms Demand Action.

"If more guns and fewer gun laws made America safer, we would be the safest country in the world," Watts said. "Instead we have a 25 times higher gun homicide rate than any other high-income country. It's time for us as a country to stop letting gun lobbyists to write our nation's gun laws."

Bloomberg said he was recently in Pittsburgh and met with the mayor and community groups, including Moms Demand Action.

"It was really quite amazing, the enthusiasm they had and how they were so convinced that we were making progress -- and we are," Bloomberg said. "But then we know that 11 people were killed a few days ago, six were injured at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and our hearts really have to go out to all of them."

In voicing support for stronger gun measures, Bloomberg said, "Nobody's trying to take away anybody's guns."

"We should have reasonable background checks," Bloomberg added. "And don't sell guns to minors. Don't sell guns to people with psychiatric problems. Don't sell guns to people that have criminal records."

Bloomberg said he thought local and state governments have had to step in on the issue "because the federal government is just hopeless."

His comments on Monday came after Trump said shortly after the shooting that there should have been an armed guard in the synagogue. Trump has likewise suggested arming teachers following school shootings, a position embraced by the National Rifle Association.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect that Bloomberg was referring to Moms Demand Action in his Detroit remarks.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307836

Reported Deaths: 7119
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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