Bloomberg’s apology

The Washington Free Beacon’s Chuck Ross reports that Michael Bloomberg rendered an apology last week at his conference in Singapore:

Michael Bloomberg, who leads the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board, apologized to attendees of his annual economic forum after former British prime minister Boris Johnson called the Chinese government a “coercive autocracy.”

Bloomberg on Thursday said that Johnson’s remarks were “his thoughts and his thoughts alone” and were not cleared with him personally. “Some may have been insulted or offended last night by parts of the speaker’s remarks referencing certain countries and their duly elected leaders,” the former New York City mayor told the crowd at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. “To those of you who were upset and concerned by what the speaker said, you have my apologies.” Johnson had referred to China and Russia as “two former communist tyrannies in which power has once again been concentrated in the hands of a single ruler” in a blistering speech to an audience that included China’s vice president and Chinese business leaders.

Johnson must have given an interesting speech. If any reader has access to a text, please send it to us at [email protected]

The UK’s Guardian has more on the speech here. The Guardian posits that the location of the speech in Singapore made Johnson’s words toxic.

Bloomberg himself has previously spoken up in defense of China’s form of government. Ross and other reporters reasonably imply that Bloomberg’s apology was directed to Johnson’s remarks insofar as China was concerned.

Can Russia’s form of government be frankly described in Singapore? Bloomberg’s reference to “certain countries” appears to extend the terms of his apology to Russia as well as China. No Russians attended the conference. Bloomberg must have wanted to mollify those concerned about the sensibilities of Xi Jinping, especially if Chinese officials were in attendance.

Let it be said. The Chinese form of government is tyrannical and Xi Jinping is a tyrant.

Bloomberg’s apology has attracted attention to Johnson’s remarks. Some explanation would be of interest. Chuck Ross himself offers this: “Bloomberg has long defended the Chinese government…” Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, despite Bloomberg’s official position with the Defense Innovation Board: “The White House did not respond to a request for comment.”

Reuters adds that Bloomberg himself invited Johnson to speak at his conference and provides the unsurprising declination: “A spokesman for Bloomberg LP, which includes Bloomberg News and where Michael Bloomberg is the CEO, declined to comment to Reuters.”

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