WASHINGTON — Rep. Gregory Meeks, the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party whose congressional district includes portions of southwest Nassau County, endorsed billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s presidential bid on Wednesday.
Meeks (D-St. Albans), one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal congressional critics, said in a statement, he was endorsing the former New York City Mayor because “the most vulnerable communities in America cannot weather another four years of a Donald Trump presidency.”
“As mayor, he made promises with concrete plans to see them through. As president, he will do the same,” Meeks said.
The Bloomberg campaign announced that Meeks will serve as co-chair of the "Mike for Black America National Leadership Council," aimed at rallying support among black voters.
The endorsement by Meeks, who also serves as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Political Action Committee, comes a day after Bloomberg came under renewed scrutiny over his past support for the “stop and frisk” policing tactic which disproportionately affected minorities.
In a 2015 recording of a speech to the Aspen Institute that resurfaced on Tuesday, Bloomberg is heard touting the NYPD’s use of “stop and frisk,” saying that "the way you get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw 'em against the wall and frisk 'em."
Bloomberg is also heard saying, "we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods … because that’s where all the crime is.”
Bloomberg, who has sought to distance himself from the controversial policy, said in a statement on Wednesday that his 2015 remarks “do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity."
President Trump seized on the recording’s release on Wednesday, labeling Bloomberg a “racist” in a tweet that he later deleted. The president has previously praised “stop and frisk” policing, saying “it works.”
Meeks’ endorsement of Bloomberg also comes as the mogul has experienced a surge in recent national polls released this week. Bloomberg ranked third in a Quinnipiac Poll released Tuesday that showed him with 15% support among Democratic voters. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) topped the poll with 25% support and former Vice President Joe Biden landed in second place with 17%.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone endorsed Bloomberg in December and State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) announced his endorsement last month.