Surging Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is facing bipartisan backlash for condescending comments about farming that resurfaced over the weekend.
While speaking at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School in 2016, Bloomberg was asked if Americans living on the coasts — who are generally more liberal — could be unified with those who live in middle America, who are generally more conservative.
In response, Bloomberg implied that anyone could be a farmer because it requires a low-level of intelligence to be successful.
I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer.
It's a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that. Then we had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs. At one point, 98 percent of the world worked in agriculture; today it's 2 percent in the United States.
Now comes the information economy. And the information economy is fundamentally different because it's built around replacing people with technology and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze, and that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter.
Bloomberg on why farmers can’t work in information technology MB: “I can teach anyone how to be a farmer 1 dig a h… https://t.co/nBs4GwzF4f— Pete (@Pete)1581736602.0
In response, Bloomberg was condemned by the left and right.
People for Bernie, the official Twitter account for Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters, said, "Time and time again we see Bloomberg insulting the middle class and the working class..."
Time and time again we see Bloomberg insulting the middle class and the working class, union members and not yet un… https://t.co/o4rN0pkroX— People for Bernie (@People for Bernie)1581896307.0
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof said, "Hm. And farmers in Oregon can teach anyone to be a financier..."
Hm. And farmers in Oregon can teach anyone to be a financier: 1. Buy low 2. Sell high 3. Lobby for the carried inte… https://t.co/6M6b7p2X9R— Nicholas Kristof (@Nicholas Kristof)1581895534.0
Donald Trump Jr. said, "Bloomberg wouldn't last 3 seconds as a farmer... but like his comments on minorities, you can tell he really hates regular hardworking Americans."
Bloomberg wouldn’t last 3 seconds as a farmer... but like his comments on minorities, you can tell he really hates… https://t.co/YeYmOhl7uB— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.)1581902400.0
Journalist Selana Zito pointed out that farming, in fact, requires a significant amount of technology and advanced intelligence to be successful.
"This 'can teach anyone' quip is ignorant. Farmers are electricians plumbers, mechanics, scientists, vets, engineers & H2O/soil conservationists; they take care of the crops that fill our cupboards & care for the animals who provide dairy & meat for our feasts. But Ok GreyMatter," she said.
This “can teach anyone” quip is ignorant. Farmers are electricians plumbers, mechanics, scientists, vets, engineers… https://t.co/DUiWWFrcxt— SalenaZito (@SalenaZito)1581893145.0
Meanwhile, popular Twitter user David Burge simply mocked Bloomberg in response, quipping, "I guess he's so short because somebody forgot to water him."
Bloomberg, who has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on his campaign, has surged to third place in the Democratic race, according to RealClearPolitics.