Five days after meeting with president-elect Donald Trump in what was described as a "candid meeting", New York Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered what Bloomberg dubbed a "campaign-style rebuke to the President-elect" vowing to resist the "excess of Trump" including federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, push more aggressive police actions against minorities or remove health services from women and the poor.
De Blasio said he would sue to stop the federal government if the Trump administration went forward with a plan to require all Muslims to register in a database, the mayor said in a speech before hundreds of supporters on Monday denouncing many of Trump's policies, said, "we will sue to block it."
“We worry about a nation that was meant to be inclusionary becoming exclusionary,” de Blasio said. “We worry about deeper division. We worry about the negation of the American dream.”
The gathered crowd erupted in a round of applause after the mayor reminded the Queens-born President-elect "to remember where you come from."
One day after President-elect Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told “Meet the Press” the Trump administration wouldn't rule a database out, though they weren't planning it, de Blasio said "we will use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for our people," he said.
Speaking in the same hall at Cooper Union where Abraham Lincoln gave a famous anti-slavery speech, de Blasio said it's important for New York to be at the forefront of a burgeoning anti-Trump movement because this city has always been a beacon of opportunity all over the world.
He said we need to organize "issue by issue" with other Americans, and stressed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was winning the popular vote by 1.5 million at last count.
He urged the crowd, which twice gave him a standing ovation, to "always be proud of our values."
"The president-elect talked during the campaign about the movement that he had built. Now its our turn to build a movement, a movement of the majority," he said.
The mayor also said that if Planned Parenthood funding is cut, "We will make sure women receive the health care they need" and would provide undocumented New Yorkers with expanded legal help if the government seeks to deport them. He also reiterated his pledge to not allow the NYPD to be used for deportations, and said that he would defy the Trump administration if it called on cities to ramp up stop and frisk policies for its police force.
The speech was the clearest sign yet that de Blasio intends to pitch his 2017 re-election effort holding himself and his city out as bulwarks against Trump administration policies. Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 6-to-1 in New York City, where Hillary Clinton won close to 80 percent of the vote during the Nov. 8 election.
“He’s obviously running against Trump for re-election and there’s a double-edged sword here,” said George Arzt, a Democratic political consultant who served as press secretary to former Mayor Edward Koch in the 1980s. “While his poll numbers have been going up because of his attacks on Trump, in the final analysis, people will be asking ‘why isn’t he fixing this or fixing that?’ The mayoralty is all about delivering local services, and while he yearns for the national spotlight it’s a perilous game.”
As Bloomberg adds,De Blasio, 55, was buoyed by a Quinnipiac University poll last week that reported him well ahead in a hypothetical Democratic primary campaign. The poll showed the mayor with 47 percent approval, his best score since January. Still, 49 percent of the city’s voters feel he doesn’t deserve re-election, compared with 39 percent who say he does.
This comes despite allegations that have linked the mayor to at least five investigations into allegations that campaign donors received illegal favors such as government business. He has denied wrongdoing.
His past efforts to assume a national role as spokesman for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party have had mixed results. His attempt to build a coalition that would influence the presidential campaign fell flat after most candidates ignored him, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont took up his anti-Wall Street fight against income inequality in his campaign.
At the Democratic National Convention in July, de Blasio was relegated to a non-prime time speech, after fraying his relationship with Hillary Clinton by delaying his endorsement of her for months.
Back home, a continuing feud with Governor Andrew Cuomo and a failed effort to unseat state Senate Republicans has forced de Blasio to struggle to gain funds for city schools and affordable housing. Homelessness has increased on city streets, and reached record numbers of more than 60,000 in city shelters.
In his speech, de Blasio portrayed himself as the protector of the various constituencies upon which he built his 2013 election by the largest plurality ever for a non-incumbent. Those groups, he said, feel aggrieved and fearful in the aftermath of Trump’s election.
“To all of you, we will protect you,” the mayor said. “This is your home", de Blasio concluded.
In short: de Blasio just promised to make New York a safe space for its residents from Donald Trump.