Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s senior 2020 campaign adviser, Tim O’Brien, faced a fierce tempest of scrutiny on MSNBC this past weekend over his boss’s increasingly controversial past.
Of particular concern to MSNBC host Joy Reid was a report from The Washington Post published Saturday that detailed Bloomberg’s lengthy history of fostering work environments that were “hostile” and “degrading” to women.
According to Reid, the emerging allegations about Bloomberg regarding women, race issues, etc., suggest that voting for him would be equivalent to “trading one” version of President Donald Trump for another.
Listen to the first half of the discussion below (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
“I don’t think anyone is saying they are the [exact] same. … However, there are things that are troubling equally on the Bloomberg side as on the Trump side,” Reid began.
For instance, she added, a spokesperson for the 2020 candidate has said that he “would not release anyone from a confidentiality agreement and would not release his depositions in any of the cases that were reported in The Washington Post.”
This is true. For months now Bloomberg has been digging in on the issue, making it clear that he won’t allow the former female employees of his who have signed nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) to tell their stories to the world.
“We don’t have anything to hide, but we made legal agreements which both sides wanted to keep things from coming out. They have a right to do that,” he himself said last month during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
The View grills Bloomberg about why he’s refusing to lift the NDA on the many women he sexually harassed at work who want to speak out. Bloomberg then lies and says “we couldn’t lift the NDAs if we wanted to.” #ShowUsYourTaxesBloomberg pic.twitter.com/IBCrss8rDn
— 29 U.S.C. § 157 (@OrganizingPower) January 29, 2020
What with Bloomberg’s challengers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, now calling for him to life the NDAs, perhaps he should reconsider, Reid then pressed.
O’Brien replied by promptly trying to the make the issue about Warren.
“First off, you said Sen. Warren is going to be on the program later, so Sen. Warren is a lawyer, she knows that NDAs are routine pieces of settlement agreements in corporate America,” he said.
“I’m sure when she was representing corporations that actually had done damaging things to women, NDAs might have been part of those settlements. It would be interesting to see what she thinks about those.”
He then turned his attention to the actual issue at hand.
“Nonetheless, it’s the company’s position that many of the women on the other side of those NDAs also don’t want disclose and that they’re respecting the terms of those agreements. They’re not unusual agreements. These are routine agreements,” he said.
“Secondarily, Mike Bloomberg believes fully and it’s borne out in his conduct as the CEO of Bloomberg LP and the founder of Bloomberg LP … that women should be protected from any kind of sexual harassment, that they should be empowered to combat it, that they shouldn’t be deprived of any kind of opportunity socially or in the workplace because of sexual harassment and discrimination against them by men. And his actions bear that out. The platform of his campaign bears that out.”
The Post’s report suggests otherwise …
“Several lawsuits have been filed over the years alleging that women were discriminated against at Bloomberg’s business-information company, including a case brought by a federal agency and one filed by a former employee, who blamed Bloomberg for creating a culture of sexual harassment and degradation,” the report reads.
And there’s a lot more where that came from …
Moreover, according to Ola Ojewumi, a disability rights advocate, Bloomberg also has a “horrendous record when it comes to disability rights.”
“He was completely resistant to accessible cabs and made efforts to stop public transit from becoming more accessible while he was mayor. How is the disabled community going to respond to that? How is he going to reckon for his record?” she asked O’Brien.
He responded by deflecting.
“The litigation on that pertained to who was responsible for making the cabs accessible,” he asserted. “The fact of the matter is Mike Bloomberg supports the [Americans with Disabilities Act]. It’s part of our platform on this campaign.”
But again, the facts show otherwise, as Ojewumi soon noted.
Listen to this part of the discussion below:
The toughest grilling came from Medhi Hasan of The Intercept.
“You and I are flawed, but you and I have not had 64 different women accuse us and organizations we lead of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination cases,” he said. “You and I did not support the Iraq War or publicly go out and say George W. Bush should be re-elected after the Iraq War.”
“You and I did not spend the last 20, 30 odd years defending stop and frisk, racist stop-and-frisk practices, racist surveillance of Muslims in New York. … Michael Bloomberg has a lot of flaws, a lot of problems. It’s mad to think that Donald Trump and the Republicans would not go to town with the legacy and the record that Michael Bloomberg brings to this race, Tim. Surely you know that.”
Does he, though?
“Of course I know that, Medhi,” O’Brien replied, before going on to offer flimsy defenses for his boss, including the claim that only he can beat Trump.
“Of course a lot more stuff is going to go at at Mike Bloomberg than comes at us. I am profoundly comfortable backing Michael Bloomberg at this moment because there’s nobody else running who is going to be able to beat Donald Trump this year.”
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