Washington D.C. 𑁋 Earlier this month, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett endorsed Michael Bloomberg for President. The delegate who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands in the House of Representatives said that the former mayor of New York City was the Democratic party’s “best chance to beat Trump.”
“The Virgin Islands were crippled after two massive hurricanes, but Mike immediately stepped up to help and lent his physical, financial, and moral support. He had the individuals who worked on Superstorm Sandy come down and work closely with the local government of the Virgin Islands as we navigated through the federal government,” Plaskett said. “Well before Mike decided to run for President, he committed to making sure Democrats across the country win and support the Democratic values that we fight for.”
Bloomberg officially declared his candidacy on November 24, 2019, during a campaign event in Virginia and went on to differentiate himself from his opponents as a “doer and a problem solver.” His presidential debut was broadcast on YouTube and on television.
“The territory’s Delegate to Congress has been a Democrat 29 years out of 33 if you rewind the clock,” professor of political science and history at the University of the Virgin Islands, Malik Sekou said in a January editorial published by Political Science Now. Four men have held the seat and Plaskett is the second woman to hold the office.
She raised a staggering $359,928.37 between January 2017 and December 2018 according to campaign filings from the Federal Elections Commission. During the same period, Virgin Islands For Plaskett, the committee charged with the delegate’s reelection spent $357,040.84. Her reelection committee ended 2018 with $24,733.10 in debt and $27,294.46 of cash on hand.
Bloomberg apologized for his stop-and-frisk policy in predominantly black churches in 2019 before he announced the start of his presidential campaign. He had also defended stop-and-frisk publicly in January of 2020 and his campaign has worked to downplay the impact of the controversial policy while touting that it did reduce crime in the city.
“Ninety-five percent of your murders, murderers and murder victims, fit one M.O.,” Bloomberg said in 2015 speech that leaked to the media. “You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities age 16 to 25.”
A study conducted in 2012 found few effects of stop-and-frisk on robbery and burglary rates in New York between 2003 and 2010. According to the Washington Post fact-checker, the claim that stop-and-frisk contributed to a decline in the crime rate is unsubstantiated. A 2016 study found no evidence that stop-and-frisk was effective.
Democratic candidates poked as his record on the campaign trail, reigniting debates about controversial policies while he was the mayor of New York City. The delegate voiced support for his criminal justice record, she has practiced law in New York City, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Her endorsement did not mention his stop and frisk policy that was ruled unconstitutional because it allowed law enforcement officers to profile minorities that were predominantly Black and Latinx citizens more frequently than their white counterparts.
Bloomberg also famously tried to extend term limits for his seat as mayor to gain a third term — this came after New Yorkers had already voted on a referendum limiting mayor terms to only two.
Bloomberg is the only candidate that has donated fund to the Democratic National Committee. The committee later amended its rules to allow him to participate in the Nevada Democratic Debate. In his first major appearance since declaring his candidacy for president, political analysts and newsrooms around the nation concluded that he performed poorly compared to his opponents — despite spending upwards of $400 million since entering the race.
The former New York City mayor has said he is willing to spend as much as $1 billion of his own fortune to beat President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Plaskett’s war chest is comparable to her predecessor, Congresswoman Donna Christian-Christensen, who raised over $200,000 between 2008 and 2014 for each of her terms.
“His support helped us win the House in 2018 and he remains committed to taking our country back to its best values,” Plaskett added “Finally, as a Caribbean [woman] and a New Yorker, I like a fighter and Mike not only has the policies to bring equality and wealth creation to communities of color and economic development to keep us competitive in the world, he’s not afraid to fight. He’ll bring the fight to Donald Trump but he will fight against the terrible policies of the Republican Party. I’m ready to fight with him and get it done.”
Bloomberg and his philanthropic organization have played an active role in the territory’s post-hurricane recovery. He visited in person just days after the two 2017 hurricanes struck and helped raise several million dollars in assistance. Since his announcement in November, a number of St. Johnians have expressed discomfort with the billionaire — who’s currently rising in national polls — and have accused his presidential campaign of using hurricane recovery efforts from 2017 to garner support from the Virgin Islands.
He has also opened a campaign office on St. Thoms and has reportedly hired local staff. Both voting districts in the territory will be given an opportunity to participate in the 2020 Virgin Islands Democratic Caucus on June 6th.