Another controversy has unfolded ahead of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s first Democratic presidential debate appearance Wednesday night.
In a 2019 video first reported by Buzzfeed News Tuesday, Bloomberg is shown describing transgender people as “he, she, or it” and “some guy in a dress” who enters women’s locker rooms during a forum hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in Manhattan last year.
Bloomberg particularly took aim at Democratic presidential candidates advocating for transgender protections.
“If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people,” Bloomberg said.
The resurfacing of Bloomberg’s remarks in 2019 comes just hours after the campaign released a video Tuesday featuring fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi that pledges his commitment to “inclusivity” for “LGBT+ youth.”
Thank you, @IsaacMizrahi.
It was an honor to be your mayor, and it will be an even greater honor to be your president. I will always stand with the LGBTQ+ community. https://t.co/zGtRkl5t0W
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 18, 2020
In response to the resurfacing of the 2019 video, a Bloomberg campaign spokesperson told Buzzfeed News Tuesday that Bloomberg “understands that the transgender community has been under attack for decades and the advance of rights has not been equal.”
“In April 2002, during his first year as mayor, Mike signed a sweeping transgender civil rights bill into law. His company provides comprehensive healthcare coverage for his transgender employees,” the Bloomberg campaign spokesperson said in a statement to Buzzfeed News. “As president, he has a comprehensive plan to secure rights for transgender Americans, including passing the Equality Act, ensuring transgender people have access to affirming healthcare and working to end the crisis of violence against transgender women. Mike is running to defeat Donald Trump and reverse the many policies he has implemented that attack the rights of the transgender community.”
TPM has reached out to Bloomberg’s campaign and will update this post if we hear back.
It’s not the first time Bloomberg has come under fire for his remarks regarding transgender rights. Earlier this month, Bloomberg faced backlash after a 2016 video showed him using the term “man wearing a dress” to describe a hypothetical transgender woman.