JTA — ‘Yo runningo para el presidente por que un billionairo de Nuevo Yorko esta exactlyo what el countryo needs ahora. #BloombitoTwentito.”
That’s Michael Bloomberg announcing his presidential run in Spanish – or at least a version of Spanish imagined by “El Bloombito,” a Twitter account that gently mocks the former New York City mayor’s game but clumsy attempts to speak the language.
@ElBloombito is the creation of Rachel Figueroa, 33, a Staten Island-based freelance writer who is the daughter of a Puerto Rican father and a Brooklyn-born Ashkenazi mother. She created the account after Bloomberg’s 2011 press conference ahead of Hurricane Irene.
“When he started speaking in Spanish, we were all sort of taken aback a little bit,” she recalled. Her Spanish-speaking neighbor even told her she thought Bloomberg had been speaking Italian.
The Twitter parody account is written from the perspective of one Miguel Bloombito, who speaks in a broken half-English, half-Spanish. The Twitter account got wide media coverage, so Figueroa kept going, continuing to tweet in Spanglish throughout Bloomberg’s three terms as mayor.
After Bloomberg left office in 2013, Figueroa tweeted less. But news that the Jewish billionaire is running for president inspired her to start tweeting again. She now has more than 80,000 followers.
Her posts poke fun at a range of things, from Bloomberg’s accent to his wealth to his unpopular policies, including the controversial police tactic known as stop-and-frisk and his unsuccessful attempt to ban the sale of large sugary beverages.
At one point Bloomberg hit back, telling those who mocked his accent to “get a life.”
But Figueroa didn’t take the criticism to heart — nor is she likely to cast her ballot for the former mayor in 2020.
“I was sort of neutral in the beginning when I created El Bloombito, but after Hurricane Sandy and seeing how he handled that, seeing how he handled the recovery on Staten Island, I became increasingly less happy. Also banning things like beverages is not helpful,” she said.