Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg can’t seem to get out of his own way as his past continues to dog his 2020 campaign.
The billionaire and former New York City mayor is under fire for past comments he made disparaging farmers and agriculture which he dismissed as not having enough “gray matter” necessary for impacting the information economy of today.
Relevant portion of video begins at the 42:00 mark:
(Source: YouTube/Oxford’s Said Business School)
“I could teach anybody, even people in this room…to be a farmer. It’s a process,” Bloomberg said during a discussion at Oxford Business School in 2016.
“The agrarian society lasted 3,000 years,” he said, simplifying the “process” by explaining, “you dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on to, add water, up comes the corn.”
“You could learn that,” he told the audience, moving on to briefly describe the industrial society in the same simplistic terms.
“Now comes the information economy,” he continued.
“And the information economy is fundamentally different because it’s built around replacing people with technology and the skill sets you need to learn are how to think and analyze and that is a whole degree level different,” Bloomberg said. “You need to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter.”
He went on to explain how it is “almost impossible” to teach new skills to parts of the population that have been out of school for a long time and have not been equipped with the “skill sets” necessary to succeed in the modern workforce.
Though Bloomberg was initially remarking on agriculture’s history, his tone and implication that farmers do not use critical thinking skills or that the industry is not as demanding as the modern information economy, drew widespread criticism from both sides of the political divide.
President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., noted that Bloomberg “really hates regular hardworking Americans” in a tweet reacting to the viral one-minute clip posted by a Twitter account with the handle, Pete Mentes, who describes himself as a “Progressive Democrat.”
Bloomberg wouldn’t last 3 seconds as a farmer… but like his comments on minorities, you can tell he really hates regular hardworking Americans.
He will never fight for them because he couldn’t care less about them. https://t.co/03CmskF5Vn
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 17, 2020
Fox News’ Brit Hume offered a scathing assessment of Bloomberg’s comments.
Bloomberg seems to have acquired his knowledge of farming by watching Hee-Haw. https://t.co/cy4sTBSRh8
— Brit Hume (@brithume) February 16, 2020
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee slammed Bloomberg’s “arrogance and ignorance” and warned, “Don’t let this guy NEAR the @WhiteHouse.”
The arrogance and ignorance of Mini-Mike about American Agriculture today is alarming. He has NO idea how technical farming is today-made harder by a gov’t made of guys like him who make it harder w/ idiotic regulations. Don’t let this guy NEAR the @WhiteHouse https://t.co/m6AV4gYTGE
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) February 17, 2020
Twitter accounts for those supporting Bloomberg’s 2020 rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders,” also blasted the former mayor.
Time and time again we see Bloomberg insulting the middle class and the working class, union members and not yet union members
Maybe it’s time for pundits to stop pretending he’s just another candidate
Bloomberg is an oligarch spending his play money to buy the White House https://t.co/9ybob6ztID
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) February 16, 2020
Others soon joined the pile-on, blasting Bloomberg’s remarks which followed last week’s resurfacing of comments he made in 2015 defending the controversial “stop and frisk” policy in New York. The Democratic presidential contender also faced backlash when a story on his “long-alleged history of undermining women” began catching attention again.
— John Kass (@John_Kass) February 17, 2020
As it turns out, farming requires extensive knowledge of farming processes, equipment, the soil, response to weather, wildlife, and market economics. Farmers possess a very specialized set of skills, none of which are easily taught.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 16, 2020
When you’ve spent your entire life with your head fully shoved up the New York bubble’s ass https://t.co/kCEWodqsTt
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 16, 2020
Mike has no idea how much technology farming employs. Doesn’t take much grey matter to be a judgmental ass. ?♀️
— Stacey – AKA The Liberty Gypsy (@ScotsFyre) February 16, 2020
The only person lacking grey matter here is Bloomberg. I’d trust a farmer to learn IT loooong before I’d trust Bloomberg to run the country. https://t.co/N3Lr5QfjnO
— Mike Beasley (@MikeBeas) February 16, 2020
Not a farmer, but I have a BS in agriculture and … wow… Bloomberg’s quote shows there’s not that much relationship between being smart and making a lot of money. How does he think 2% of our population is feeding the other 98%? By replacing people with technology!
— Steve Goldstein (@SteveGoldstein1) February 16, 2020
What an insult to farmers from this smug elitist – most farmers, both in the past and today are the most innovative, resourceful, multi-skilled, adaptive, salt of the earth people you will ever fin
— Margaret (@margmopp) February 17, 2020
So far, oppo research on Bloomberg has dug up past comments alienating…
At this rate, there won’t be anyone left to be offended by Super Tuesday. https://t.co/zKEovgDueF
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) February 17, 2020
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