Bloomberg's defense of redlining comes back to haunt him during live debate

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Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg conveniently changed his tune yet again, this time during Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate when he was questioned about statements he made in support of redlining during the housing crisis in 2008. At the time, Bloomberg was speaking at an event at Georgetown University, and John DeGioia, president of the university, had just asked the mayor in a week that brought a 500-point Dow Jones drop, the largest single drop since 2001, “how did we get here.”

Bloomberg in response, laid the blame squarely at the feet of Congress in its decision to make the discriminatory practice of redlining illegal with the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. “I would say it probably all started back when there was a lot of pressure on banks to make loans to everyone,” the former mayor said.

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“Redlining, if you remember, was the term where banks took whole neighborhoods and said, ‘People in these neighborhoods are poor, they’re not going to be able to pay off their mortgages, tell your salesmen don’t go into those areas,’” Bloomberg added. “And then Congress got involved—local elected officials, as well—and said, ‘Oh that’s not fair, these people should be able to get credit. And once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn’t as good as you would like.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the billionaire out on the statements February 13 on Twitter. ”I'm surprised that someone running for the Democratic nomination thinks the economy would be better off if we just let banks be more overtly racist,” she said. “We need to confront the shameful legacy of discrimination, not lie about it like Mike Bloomberg has done.”

Here�s a history lesson on the racist legacy of redlining, if any presidential candidate needs a refresher. pic.twitter.com/PiyJrEFXcV

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 13, 2020

NBC News political director Chuck Todd gave Bloomberg a chance to clarify his quote during the debate. “I’ve been well on the record against redlining since I worked on Wall Street,” Bloomberg said. “I was against it during the financial crisis. I’ve been against it since.” He said the financial crisis of 2008 came about because “the people had took the mortgages, packaged them, and other people bought them. That was where all the disaster was,” Bloomberg added. It’s not exactly the song he was singing in 2008, but he’s running for president now. Who can be expected to stick to his guns while running for office? “Redlining is still a practice some places, and we’ve got to cut it out,” Bloomberg said during the debate. He then tried desperately to pivot to entrepreneurship, but there really are few safe topics of discussion for a racist running to represent the Democratic party in the next presidential election. Might I suggest Bloomberg switch parties?

Michael Bloomberg with an inspiring message about seed capital in response to a question of why he blamed the financial crisis on redlining... pic.twitter.com/9xJpbtEPXg

— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) February 20, 2020

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