Businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in an interview with CBS News that President Donald Trump “encourages” violence.
Bloomberg appeared on Face the Nation to discuss with host Margaret Brennan, among other issues, President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
The billionaire opined that the American public pays close attention to what the commander-in-chief says, which is why his rhetoric inspires some to commit violent acts.
“Words matter,” Bloomberg sad.
“The public reads, watches, listens to that, and that changes their behavior. People look to their leadership for guidance and to say that it doesn’t have an effect is wrong,” he added, proceeding to argue that Trump “encourages” racist violence with his rhetoric.
“So what the president says is very important, and if he supports or says nice things about racism, it encourages racism. If he goes and says nice things about white supremacists, he encourages that kind of violence.”
The businessman added that Trump was elected by the American people to represent every American, and not to represent a particular political party.
According to Bloomberg, Trump “cannot go and just shoot off his mouth and say anything.”
The former New York city mayor is not the first public figure to accuse Trump of inspiring violence with his inflammatory rhetoric. Prominent Democrats have repeatedly criticized the president’s remarks about immigrants, most recently blaming him for the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
The shooter, allegedly a white supremacist, killed 22 individuals, targeting Latin American immigrants. He is believed to have authored and posted online a racist manifesto, in which he spread conspiracy theories about the rise of the Hispanic population in the state of Texas.
Democratic presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Andrew Yang have all called Trump a white supremacist, denouncing his rhetoric.
"Predator," "invasion," "alien," "animal" — these are the words Donald Trump uses to describe other human beings.
The president is a racist and a xenophobe, and our job now is to defeat him. pic.twitter.com/iMUM2oM2Pp
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 10, 2019
As CBS News notes, the president has repeatedly made derogatory remarks about immigrants, once joking during a campaign rally about an incendiary remark made by one of his supporters; the supporter suggested that the best way to stop migrants from entering the United States is to shoot them.
Bloomberg, a former Republican, briefly entertained the idea of running for president in 2020 as a Democrat. But, as Business Insider reported, he later gave up on the idea.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 8, 2019
The former mayor of New York City said that he would be able to beat Trump in the general election, but suggested that competing in the Democratic primary would be too challenging.
Bloomberg will, however, play a role in the 2020 election, since he has reportedly vowed to donate at least $500 million to the Democratic nominee.