November 8th, 2010
08:52 AM ET
12 years ago

Bloomberg: Some new Congress people 'can't read'

(CNN) – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a colorful critique of some new incoming members of Congress over the weekend, saying during a trip through Hong Kong that many of them "can't read."

"If you look at the U.S., you look at who we're electing to Congress, to the Senate - they can't read. I'll bet you a bunch of these people don't have passports," said Bloomberg, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We're about to start a trade war with China if we're not careful here, only because nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is."

Bloomberg, the former Republican-turned-independent three-term mayor of New York City, made the comments to reporters Saturday in Hong Kong after speaking to a conference of business leaders from around the world.

According to Bloomberg, the incoming crop of new Congress members have taken dangerous anti-China stances that threaten to put America's trade relationship with the world's most populated country in jeopardy.

"I think in America we've got to stop blaming the Chinese and blaming everybody else and take a look at ourselves," Bloomberg also said, according to the paper.

Evelyn Erskine, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg did not dispute the comments, saying in a statement to CNN, "Mayor Bloomberg has said for years that bashing China may make for good politics, but it isn't going to improve American schools or put Americans to work."

- CNN's Jessica Naziri contributed to this report

Filed under: 2010 • Michael Bloomberg
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    Ahhh, the political elite, especially the New York elite- make it possible for the Tea Party people to thrive. Don't you folks in New York know that the rest of the country despises you as much as you look down on the rest of the country.

    November 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. TM

    In Delaware we had one Senate candidate who didn't know what was in the FIRST Amendment, and that was AFTER attending an "8 day intensive Constitutional seminar". In Florida we ELECTED an army officer who claimed that he had a "higher security clearance" than the President. The Teabag Party celebrates the ignorance of its candidates.

    November 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. stayintrue

    What an insulting thing to say about the incoming members of Congress. Not cool Bloomberg. Seriously, not cool.
    I won't dispute that perhaps some new members of Congress have "anti-China" stances. But to say they "can't read" or that they "don't have passports" "Nobody knows where China is?" !!!!! Unbelievable. What a snide, elitist comment.

    November 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. BlindFaith

    Bloomberg is one of those increasingly rare conservatives who still believes knowledge and expertise are not things to be ashamed of. He's never made a remark about the president being an "anti-colonialist Kenyan tribesman". He's never accused the president of being a Muslim/Socialist/Foreigner. He knows that the death-panel myth is an embarrassing fiction that only a gullible child would believe. The same goes for the story a couple of days ago that the president's trip to Asia was costing more than the Afghan war (200 MILLION dollars a day according to those sages, Bachmann, Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, and Imus!). He doesn't believe climate science is a vast global conspiracy designed to line Al Gore's pockets. His days in the GOP are surely numbered, as are those of any conservative who refuses to see ignorance and blind faith as virtues.

    November 8, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. dave

    The spoken truth hurts; doesn't make it untrue. Thanks, Mr Bloomberg, for your honesty.

    November 8, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Not All Docs Play Golf

    He's right, of course. The "Gunna take bak R cuntry" folks haven't been so impressive in their specific recommendations for solving our big problems, and frankly I think it's all over their heads. But they think in bumper sticker slogans, so we shouldn't expect any refined articulations from them.

    November 8, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Dennis

    This kind of elitst attitude is what cost the Democrats the majority in the house. The attiitude of you must be stupid if you disagree with me.

    November 8, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. kmp

    Funny he speaks the truth and you all call him arrogant and an elitist.

    November 8, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Anonymous

    He is a 100% correct! Did you listen to the comments by Rand Paul and some of the other Tea Party candidates? If they could read, they would know the how often the mis-quoted The Consistution. They mis-stated what Congress and they, as individuals, can do. And they certianly never read the Healthcare bill or anything else done in the past 20 years.
    However Mayor, I think you are probably wrong about passports- I'm sure they have taken their families on trips to the Caribbean, so tthey propably have one.

    November 8, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. miami2010

    This is the same thing what a bunch the loosers are the democrats. When the people vote Democrats they are intellegent, smart etc, when the same people vote Republicans then they are stupid, ignorant ect. I'm very tired of personality assasination. The democrats are a bunch of lies, spending people that do not how create a single job, the people speak on Nov 2 and the Democrats are the one that not reads that.

    November 8, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. bill486

    He's right about the newly-elected politicians, wrong about China....after all, he's talking to business leaders; they're the ones using China's cheap labor to drive down working class wages to poverty level in this country.

    It doesn't matter, though...if the American people were so phenominally STUPID as to hand control back to the republican party after 8 years of president Frank Burns Jr., then AMERICA IS DYING A SLOW, STUPID DEATH....and probably deserves to.

    November 8, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. P.D.

    LOL! Lets see how long the Tea Partiers support the Republicans when they dismantle S.S. and Medicare. Idiots!

    November 8, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. Joshua Ludd

    Well, he is right.. perhaps not literally, but the overall message is correct. People are being championed and some times, thank god rarely being elected who are ignorant and unqualified. Sure, they may be more like the average american, but frankly when I think of who should actually be running for office, making policy, and running our country on a national level.. especially positions like president and vice president, I want them to be more than average. That may seem "elitist" to some, but so what? Its good policy. I'm not saying they all have to have gone to harvard and yale or that they are all geniuses... just that they are not ignorant or small minded.. and if they are in some ways, they do not consider their ignorance and small mindedness to somehow be a virtue to be not only defended, but bragged about and even used as a supposed qualification for office. I don't want someone who thinks they are getting top secret information they can't share about another country from religious missionary groups or someone who claims they have international relations experience from living relatively near a foreign country they have never visited.

    November 8, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Future expat

    The phrasing might have been a bit unpolished, but the sentiment is correct.

    November 8, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. miami2010

    Also Obama and democrats are just in denial, only said that they can speak with clarity about the suppose good policy, give a break, Obama from January 2009 he speak on the television or other media every week and sometimes two or three times a week, and now said that people do not understand their product, when you have a good product you do not have to explain too much, the people inmediately buy it. Democarts realize that your product is crap, through away and find a better produtc.

    November 8, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Mayor Bloomberg is absolutely right and it takes a very small mind not to understand what he's talking about. The false propaganda and fear that's spreading around this country is dangerous and unproductive to our relationship with China or any other country. China is doing business with every country and it's imperative we have a good relationship with them and not throw stones that are going to be thrown back at us. READ.

    November 8, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. Josh

    Now when is this guy running for a bigger office, put your money where your mouth is Mayor run more then just the city of NY

    November 8, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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