A day after an audio clip emerged of Bloomberg bluntly defending the stop-and-frisk policy he oversaw as mayor, Bloomberg's campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, sought to portray it as an indication Trump is anxious about Bloomberg's rise and the prospect of running against him in the general election.
Still, Bloomberg campaign officials said they were not surprised that they were getting additional heat and stepped-up scrutiny from both his Democratic and Republican rivals as the former mayor surges in national polls, where he's now one poll away from qualifying for next week's Democratic debate.
"It was five years ago".
In remarks to the Aspen Institute in Colorado on 5 February 2015, Mr Bloomberg is heard saying: "It's controversial, but first thing is, all of your - 95% percent of your murders, murderers and murder victims, fit one M.O. Because that's where all the crime is", he said at the time.
He added: "Put those cops where the crime is, which is in the minority neighbourhoods". And to "get the guns out of the kids" hands", Bloomberg says, police must "throw "em against the wall and frisk 'em".
The eagerness of Bloomberg's rivals to criticize him comes as polls show he has risen into the top tier of contenders for the nomination to challenge President Trump. He said: "I should have done it faster and sooner". During his tenure, use of the practice increased sevenfold.
At a campaign stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Wednesday, one protester took over the microphone to warn the crowd of supporters that Michael Bloomberg was a plutocrat who was in the process of buying the Democratic presidential nomination. He's also acknowledged his own white privilege and released policies focused on issues central to some African American communities, such as black homeownership and maternal mortality rates.
Bloomberg enjoys significant African-American support. Gregory Meeks of New York, Lucy McBath of Georgia and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands. Bloomberg defended stop-and-frisk as recently as 2019, only apologizing for the practice publicly in November, shortly after entering the presidential race. Both have received a number of prominent African American endorsements and have been holding campaign events specifically aimed at the black community. Businessman Tom Steyer, another Democratic presidential candidate, called the comments "extremely disturbing" and said that Bloomberg needs to provide an explanation to those who were affected by stop and frisk.
"Mike Bloomberg's remarks in the video are extremely disturbing".
If you live in NY, or know our history, you've been knowing that #BloombergIsRacist.
Mr Trump commented: "WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!".
US President Donald Trump, who reportedly views Mr Bloomberg as a serious threat to his prospects of re-election in November despite deriding him as "Mini Mike", tweeted the audio clip on Tuesday.