As scrutiny of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg‘s record as New York City mayor continues, Breitbart reported that the surging billionaire previously recommended that former New York governor David Paterson confront Native American tribes with a shotgun and cowboy hat.
Bloomberg made the comment in August of 2010 after he was just elected to a third term as New York City mayor. Speaking on WOR 710-AM with John Gambling, the pair spoke of Paterson and his proposal to tax cigarettes sold on Native American reservations. The plan was intended to help offset the state’s budget deficit and faced pushback from the Native American community, who pointed out that their reservations are technically sovereign, existing outside of United States law.
Despite similar proposals failing in the past, Bloomberg suggested a standoff between the two opposing camps in an audio recording of the conversation.
“I said, you know, ‘Get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun.’ If there’s ever a great video, it’s [Paterson] standing in the middle of the New York State Thruway saying, you know, ‘Read my lips—the law of the land is this, and we’re going to enforce the law.'”
While Gambling noted the pressure Paterson was likely feeling to abandon his taxation proposal, Bloomberg reportedly advised he remain steadfast.
“Come on, then you do it and let the federal government sue us,” he was quoted as saying. “This is an outrage. If you and I should pay taxes, everybody should pay taxes and this is just a scam to get around taxes… the cigarettes are killing our people.”
In response, Bloomberg was slammed by the Native American community as well as by Paterson, who suggested the billionaire had no place to comment on the situation.
Bloomberg has drawn a significant amount of criticism for the stop-and-frisk policy he employed during his mayoral tenure. The controversial policy was reportedly used primarily to target young black and Latino males, which has sparked accusations of racism against the 78-year-old businessman.
More recently, journalist Mehdi Hasan noted that Bloomberg oversaw the reportedly warrantless surveillance of Muslims in New York. Under his leadership, the New York Police Department (NYPD) allegedly worked with the CIA to gather information from Muslim neighborhoods via undercover agents.
Regardless of the criticism leveled against him, Bloomberg continues to surge in recent polls, thanks to his advertising blitz across Super Tuesday states. To date, Newsweek reports that Bloomberg has spent approximately $418 million on television ads as part of his campaign, which Michael Tracey claims is a more significant threat to democracy than Donald Trump.