On Thursday, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced his candidacy for President in 2020’s election. He is the 23rd Democrat to join the race.
In a three minute video entitled “Working People First,” de Blasio declared his intentions to seek office and outlined several of his policy positions as mayor. He highlights his support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, enacting legally guaranteed sick leave and comprehensive health care coverage, and providing “free, full-day, high quality pre-K” education.
The video begins with de Blasio proclaiming that there is “plenty of money” in the world and in the country but that it’s “just in the wrong hands.” To this end, he promises to take on “the wealthy” and “big corporations” and that he “will not rest until this government serves working people.”
De Blasio also targets Trump in his campaign launch video, explaining that as a New Yorker, he’s known Trump is “a bully” for a long time. “This is not news to me or anyone else here,” de Blasio says, “and I know how to take him on.”
He continued his attack on Thursday’s Good Morning America in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. When asked about a Quinnipiac University poll from last month showing that 76 percent of New York voters and 73 percent of New York Democrats believed he should not run for President, de Blasio responded
We’re gonna talk about what working people need and how their government should be on their side. Right now the federal government is not on the side of working people, and that’s because Donald Trump is playing a big con on America. I call him Con Don. Every New Yorker knows he’s a con artist. We know his tricks. We know his playbook. I know how to take him on. I’ve been watching him for decades. He’s trying to convince working Americans he’s on their side – it’s been a lie from day one. So I believe I’ll be able to show the kinds of things we have done here are what’s needed all over this country.Mayor Bill de Blasio, Good Morning America Interview 5/16/19
The poll in question also showed that, overall, de Blasio has an “anemic” 42 – 44 percent job approval rating among New York City voters, with the wide racial gap typical of his polling: his approval rating is 66 – 23 percent among black voters, while Hispanic voters are divided 40 – 40 percent. White voters, meanwhile, disapprove 58 – 31 percent.
A poll from Monmouth University showed similar lukewarm numbers for de Blasio among Iowa voters, with a 24 percent “favorable” rating and 24 percent unfavorable. Only Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had a higher unfavorable rating at 26 percent; however, 67 percent of respondents viewed him favorably.
Protests could be heard outside the Good Morning America studio.
Polling is not the only factor against de Blasio. As the New York Times observes, no sitting mayor has ever been elected to the Presidency:
The mayor who came closest to the presidency was from New York City: DeWitt Clinton, who won his party’s endorsement but lost to James Madison in 1812. The last sitting mayor of New York who tried to run for president was John V. Lindsay in 1972; Rudolph W. Giuliani, who left City Hall in 2002, unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in 2008.
In fact, it has been nearly a century since any New York City mayor went on to be elected to any office; the last was Ardolph Loges Kline, who was acting mayor in 1913, and served a term in the House of Representatives from 1921 to 1923.
De Blasio will also likely face scrutiny over the investigations into corruption and bribery to which he has been a party. In March 2016, federal and state prosecutors determined that de Blasio had solicited donations from donors seeking favors from the city and had acted in favor of those donors. The actions were said to violate the “intent and spirit of the law,” but charges ultimately were not filed.
President Trump wasted little time responding to de Blasio’s announcement.
The President’s comments contrast sharply with previous statements he has made about de Blasio. During de Blasio’s mayoral race against Republican Joe Lhota, Trump expressed optimism about his prospects.
“I think pretty strongly that he’ll end up being a good mayor, maybe a very good mayor and I don’t think he’s going to want to kill the golden goose,” Trump said in an interview at the time.
“I think he’s a smart guy that knows what’s going on really big league and I think he is not going to want to destroy New York. I think he is going to want to make New York great.”
De Blasio’s announcement video can be watched below.