New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday called the defeat of gun restrictions in the U.S. Senate “a disgrace” and promised to personally bankroll opponents of the senators who voted against the bill.
“You’re either in favor of continuing the killing and the tragedies or you’re not. And this was an up and down vote. And so now they’re on the record,” said the billionaire mayor. “Let me tell you, the next time you run for office, I’m going to be working for the other side.”
Bloomberg, a co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, lashed out in unusually harsh terms, saying that because of the mostly Republican senators who voted down a bill that would expand background checks, “children lost, they’re going to die, and the criminals won.”
The Senate bill to expand background checks for gun buyers drew 54 votes Wednesday, six short of the 60 needed to advance.
“I will support those who do what’s right for America,” Bloomberg said. “I’m going to support those who did the right thing. And if there’s an election between somebody who didn’t and somebody who wants to, of course I’m going to do that and I would hope you would do that too.”
In related news, Councilmen Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams sent a letter to Bloomberg, criticizing him for “demonizing” those who disagree with him in a Tuesday press conference, that was meant to reassure New Yorkers in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings that the city was safe.
The letter by the two Brooklyn Democrats followed comments the mayor made at the event, in which he accused “special interests” who make it harder for police to perform their job.
The councilmen said they understood that to refer to those opposed to the stop-and-frisk tactic that some blacks have said racially profiles them.
“We find it distressing that you would politicize the memory of those killed in the tragedy in this way,” wrote Lander and Williams.
Williams in particular has led the fight for the city to appoint an outside inspector to oversee the New York Police Department.
The two added that while they appreciate Bloomberg’s efforts to make the city safer, “we ask that you reconsider the language you use, in order to bring New Yorkers together as we respond and reflect, rather than drive us apart.”