Ann Arbor Bloomberg campaign office vandalized with others across the country

Monday, February 24, 2020 - 8:01pm

Michael Bloomberg's campaign opened an office in Ann Arbor in February.

Michael Bloomberg's campaign opened an office in Ann Arbor in February. Buy this photo
Penny Lam/Daily

 

The Ann Arbor campaign office of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg was vandalized on Feb 13. The office said that the words “corporate pig” were spray-painted on the window. The event was reported to the Ann Arbor Police Department shortly afterward.  

This is not an isolated incident, as various Bloomberg campaign offices across the country have been vandalized in the past several weeks, including some in Ohio, Utah, Tennessee and Illinois. On Feb. 16, the campaign reported that a sign reading “Eat the Rich” was put outside their office in Flint. 

Campaign manager Kevin Sheekey responded to vandalism at a Bloomberg office in Knoxville, Tenn., on Feb. 20 and other related incidents, including those in Michigan, in a statement issued on Feb. 21.  

Campaign manager Kevin Sheekey responded to vandalism at a Bloomberg office in Knoxville, Tenn., on Feb. 20 and other related incidents, including those in Michigan, in a statement issued on Feb. 21. 

“Over the past week, we’ve seen similar attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in multiple states,” Sheekey said. “Fortunately, no one has been injured. But this needs to end before someone gets hurt.”  

The Bloomberg Chicago office had the words “racist,” “sexist,” “GOP” and “oligarch” spray-painted across the front window on Sunday night. Sheekey issued another statement on Monday in response.  

“Yet again, one of our campaign offices has been vandalized with derogatory language — using the word ‘oligarch’ — in an act of hate,” Sheekey said. “We cannot, and will not, tolerate these acts. While we do not know who is directly responsible, we do know Senator Bernie Sanders and his campaign have repeatedly invoked this language, and the word ‘oligarch’ specifically when discussing Mike Bloomberg and his campaign.” 

Freeland Ellis, the Midwest regional press secretary for the Sanders campaign, declined to comment on the vandalism in an email to The Daily.

No comment at this time but I’ll keep you posted,” Ellis wrote.

Bloomberg has visited Michigan twice since he began his presidential campaign in November, holding a rally on Feb. 4 in Detroit. Having already opened offices in Flint, Ann Arbor, Warren and Bloomfield Hills, Bloomberg has made it clear that he intends to focus heavily on Michigan given its status as a swing state. 

This is not the first time Bloomberg has faced backlash in Ann Arbor. When the former New York City mayor delivered the University of Michigan Spring Commencement address in 2016, the crowd booed his criticism of safe spaces and microaggressions.

“The fact that some university boards and administrations now bow to pressure and shield students from these ideas through ‘safe spaces,’ ‘code words’ and ‘trigger warnings’ is, in my view, a terrible mistake,” Bloomberg said in 2016. “The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations — not run away from them. A microaggression is exactly that: micro.”

Bloomberg took shots at Sanders in 2016 as well. During his speech in the Big House, Bloomberg told graduating students they shouldn’t trust people who promise to give them things for free.

“When a populist candidate promises free college, free health care and a pony, or another candidate promises to make other countries pay for our needs, remember: those who promise you a free lunch will invariably eat you for breakfast,” he said. “If there were simple solutions to complex problems, we wouldn’t have those problems.”

 

Reporter Hannah Mackay can be reached at mackayh@umich.edu. Daily News Editor Liat Weinstein can be reached at weinsl@umich.edu.