Rudy Giuliani Criticizes Mike Bloomberg for Backtracking on NYC 'Stop-and-Frisk' Policy: 'He Was 100 Percent In Favor'

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who serves as President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, criticized his successor, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, for apologizing for the highly controversial "stop-and-frisk" policing policy that is now widely viewed as "racist" and disproportionately targeted minority communities.

Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman and former Republican, has been strongly criticized by activists and many Democrats for the policy, which negatively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during his tenure as mayor. The contentious issue has resurfaced as the former mayor launched an unconventional presidential bid in late November and has recently seen an uptick in national polls, as he has spent hundreds of millions of his fortune on television ads targeting voters in Super Tuesday primary states.

"What is this stuff that he's condemning stop-and-frisk?" Giuliani asked radio show host John Catsimatidis on Sunday as earlier reported by The Hill. "I did it for eight years. He did it for 12. I did 100 [thousand] stops. He did 600 [thousand]," Trump's lawyer added, noting the increase under Bloomberg.

Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg
Former New York Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani attend the 14th anniversary ceremony of the terrorist attacks at the 9/11 memorial on September 11, 2015 in New York KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty

"He was 100 percent in favor of that program. As enthusiastic about it as I was," Giuliani argued.

Bloomberg, who served as New York's mayor from 2002 to 2013, only apologized for the controversial policing strategy shortly before launching his presidential campaign. Prior to that, he had consistently defended "stop-and-frisk," arguing that it was an effective way to combat crime. He even suggested that minorities are inherently more likely to commit crimes, saying that he felt white communities were over-policed.

"They just keep saying it's a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group. That may be, but it's not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder," he said in the interview with New York radio station WOR in 2013, the last year of his tenure as mayor. "In that case incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little."

In a 2015 clip of remarks he made to the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg said: "Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops."

Even when apologizing for the policy, Bloomberg has continued to suggest that it was an effective strategy to fight crime.

"We did the best thing that we can. I think it had something to do with it [the decline in crime]," he said in a January interview with The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. "At some point in time, you do too much of one thing, then you should stop doing it."

Bloomberg has also attempted to argue that he inherited the policy but then worked to end it. In reality, stop-and-frisk was greatly expanded during the majority of his time as mayor but only began to decline in his last years in office, after it drew substantial outcry from activists. The policy was eventually declared unconstitutional in federal court.

During the billionaire's first year in office, there were 97,296 reported stops by the police, while the number had soared to 685,724 by 2011, according to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union of New York. That's an increase of about 700 percent. The level started to decline in Bloomberg's last two years, but there were still about 192,000 stops in his final year as mayor, or about twice as many as when he entered office.

Democratic presidential front-runner Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont took aim at Bloomberg and his previous support for stop and frisk during a Nevada event on Saturday.

"We will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat Trump if that candidate pursued, advocated for, and enacted, racist policies like stop-and-frisk, which caused communities of color in his city to live in fear," Sanders said, according to Reuters.

Notably, New York city's current mayor, Bill de Blasio, who launched an unsuccessful presidential campaign of his own last year, has now endorsed Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"New Yorkers know all too well the damage caused by Donald Trump's xenophobia, bigotry and recklessness, and Bernie is the candidate to take him on and take him down," De Blasio said in a Saturday statement.