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Warren Claims Bloomberg’s ‘Redlining’ Comments Should Disqualify Him from Presidential Race

Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the spin room after the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Los Angeles, Calif., December 19, 2019. (Kyle Grillot/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Thursday took direct aim at fellow 2020 contender Michael Bloomberg, saying the former New York City mayor should not be the Democratic nominee because of comments he made several years ago blaming the 2008 housing crisis on banks abandoning racially discriminatory lending practices.

“A video just came out yesterday in which Michael Bloomberg is saying, in effect, that the 2008 financial crash was caused because the banks weren’t permitted to discriminate against black and brown people,” Warren said at a town hall in northern Virginia.

“That crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been able to be bigger racists, and anyone who thinks that should not be the leader of our party,” the progressive Massachusetts senator added.

Bloomberg’s 2008 comments about the housing crisis resurfaced on Wednesday, drawing accusations that he was blaming minorities for the recession that began the year before after the housing market crashed.

“It all started back when there was a lot of pressure on banks to make loans to everyone,” Bloomberg said at a Georgetown University forum at the time. “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.’”

Redlining was a practice where banks outlined poor neighborhoods in red on maps and refused mortgages and loans to people, often minorities, who lived in those areas, which the banks considered financially risky.

Warren also repeated her familiar refrain against how Bloomberg’s billionaire status has allowed him to buy his way into the race, saying he “got in on the billionaire plan.”

Bloomberg campaign spokesman Stu Loeser pushed back on criticism of Bloomberg’s 12-year-old comments saying that the former mayor targeted predatory lending when he was mayor and plans as president to “help a million more Black families buy a house and counteract the effects of redlining and the subprime mortgage crisis.”

The Thursday campaign event was Warren’s first since she finished fourth in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. Before that underwhelming outcome, she finished third in Iowa caucuses, both outcomes leaving her campaign scrambling to regain momentum.

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