he video: During an interview on Fox News Sunday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized possible presidential candidate Donald Trump for continuing to question where Barack Obama was born. (See video below.) Bloomberg called the noisy billionaire a friend and "New York icon," but said that Trump's birtherism preoccupation was not only wrongheaded, but bad political strategy: "The Republicans are making a terrible mistake in making this a big issue," Bloomberg said. "We have immigration, we have the deficit, we have the economy. Those are the things that the public cares about." Meanwhile, Robert De Niro, in a Saturday interview with NBC's Brian Williams, dismissed Trump as a "car salesman" engaged in a "big hustle." Trump hit back Monday on Fox and Friends, saying the legendary actor is "not the brightest bulb on the planet."
The reaction: The mayor's directive that candidates focus on real issues is all well and good, says Matt Schneider at Mediaite. But "given that Bloomberg himself was once rumored to be an independent force in the 2012 election, might his critique of Trump’s strategy be partially attributable to missing some of the spotlight?" Either way, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post, the media is complicit in Trump's mission to drag down the national discourse. Newspapers and television outlets continue to "offer half-hearted justifications for showering him with coverage," simply because he's a good story. Watch Bloomberg trash Trump:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- How Ukraine can fend off the Russians, in 7 simple steps
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- The contentious policy at the heart of Cliven Bundy's armed standoff with the government
- How conservatives learned to hate Hollywood
Subscribe to the Week