New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio met with President-elect Trump for 62 minutes to put what he called his “cards on the table.” He said although he and the President-elect have “substantial differences,” he felt it was important to have a “candid conversation.”
The mayor said the talk covered a number of issues that worry New Yorkers, from the possible repeal of Wall Street reforms, to tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, to concerns about wide-scale deportations that may affect many New Yorkers and put the NYPD in a position that would “create a rift between them and the community.”
He also raised the issue of the appointment of former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon to a key White House position. Under Bannon’s leadership the alt-right publication published anti-Semitic, anti-women, anti-immigrant and anti-anyone-who-isn’t-white articles filled with distorted information.
Here’s what the mayor said at a news conference outside of Trump Tower after the meeting.
Mayor Bill de Blasio:
“I just met with President-elect Trump. The purpose of the meeting was for me to assert to him the concerns and the needs of all New Yorkers. My job as mayor is to be their voice and to give him perspective on what New Yorkers are feeling right now, what their concerns are, what their fears are. I thought it was very important, particularly as the President-elect begins his transition, for him to hear the voices of the people and to get some perspective from outside the transition bubble to understand what is being said in the streets and subways of our city and why people are so deeply concerned.
“I raised a number of substantive issues. I want to give you a sense of what they were. I will say at the outset, I’m not going to characterize his positions or responses, but I will give you a sense of what we talked about.
“First of all, we talked about regulation of Wall Street. I raised my concerns about any repeal of the Dodd-Frank bill and what it would do in terms of furthering the economic security of New Yorkers and of millions and millions of Americans, and the deep concern that we would go backwards and that our economy would be in peril again and we would run the risk of another crash.
“I talked to him about the proposal for tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations. I raised my concern that this would make impossible many of the changes that we need in our country, particularly the investments we so desperately need in infrastructure here in New York City and in cities and counties all over the country. I talked to him about concerns about proposed deportations.
“I gave him the perspective of the NYPD – that any initiative that would create a rift between our police all over the country, and the communities they serve – that would make it impossible for police and community to communicate, and that it would sow distrust between law enforcement and neighborhoods that would be counterproductive.
“Beyond that, that proposal countered and flew in the face of all that was great about New York City, the ultimate city of immigrants, a place that has succeeded because it was open for everyone, a place built on generation after generation of immigrants.
“And I reiterated to him that this city and so many cities around the country will do all we can to protect our residents and to make sure that families are not torn apart. I talked to him about police-community relations in general and specifically the question of stop and frisk.
“I tried to provide perspective on how stop and frisk can create a wedge between police and community when it was used in an unconstitutional manner – it was overused – and how since we changed that policy the city had gotten safer. That we – we knew we were never going back to that policy – that we were going to continue on a path of neighborhood policing and building a bond between police and community.
“I talked to him about our Muslim community. I let him know something that so many people don’t know – that there are 900 Muslim members of the NYPD, protecting all of us, protecting every community, every kind of person. I told him that we were very concerned that we had to show all New Yorkers, including Muslim New Yorkers, that they were welcome and that exclusionary policies would undermine our ability to create unity.
“Exclusionary policies would undermine our ability to create a dynamic where everyone felt a part of this community equally, ready to work to protect each other, ready to work with law enforcement for the good of all. I also raised concerns about some of the messages and some of the rhetoric that for so many people had been hurtful. And I let him know that so many New Yorkers were fearful and that more had to be done to show that this country can heal, that people be respected. I left the meeting with the door open for more dialogue.
“It’s well-known we have very, very substantial differences in beliefs and ideology, but, at the end of the meeting, we agreed that this was a conversation that would continue.
“I reiterated to the President-elect that I would be open minded as we continue substantive discussions, but I would also be vigilant. And I would be swift to react anytime an action is taken that will undermine the people of New York City.
“I also know that New Yorkers will stand together. We’re going to stand up for the needs of working people. We’re going to stand up for our immigrant brothers and sisters.
“We’re going to stand up for anyone who because of any policy is excluded or affronted, be they members of the Muslim community, or the Jewish community, members of the LGBT community, women – anyone who feels policies are being undertaken that undermine them.”