New York City and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Bill DeBlasio maintained the relationship between the NYPD and community has improved “A lot of the tension has been reduced, a lot more communication is happening because of the policing, it’s making a huge difference.” while stating he will continue his campaign for the party nomination despite a polling average showing him below 1 percent to “Make a real impact.”
DeBlasio's shared his perspective on his 2020 prospects while talking local issues including improving conditions on city subways and for cyclists amid several recent fatalities in a wide-ranging interview with WOR Tonight hosts Joe Concha and Cooper Lawrence on Friday.
Concha asked DeBlasio if he planned on exiting the presidential race if his poll numbers didn't change from the current 0.6 percent he's currently polling at in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. The mayor entered the presidential race more than 10 weeks ago and has seen little movement upward since, but believes that the more he gets his message out, the more his numbers will improve.
"The important point here you saw in the first debate, a lot of people had more time than me but with the time I had, I made a real impact," DeBlasio replied. "And a lot of people noted that because I talked about the fact that right now this is a country that’s not serving working people and in fact we’ve gotten used to a government on the side on the wealthy and the corporations and not prioritizing every day people, and I've proven in New York you can do it a different way."
"So that message matters because its based on reality," he continued. "I'm gonna keep getting that message out there and I believe what will happen over time, and as folks try to make sense of all of these candidates, they want to see where there’s some proof that you can do the things you’re gonna say and you're gonna do, and I am one of the few candidates that can show people proof."
Lawrence asked if the mayor was frustrated by not being able to get any flights back from the midwest while campaigning in Iowa during a recent blackout that impacted hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, a situation that the mayor insisted was always under control despite being halfway across the country.
"The most important thing for New Yorkers is to know that what they need is being taken care of, so the minute that happened, as the first blackout of its nature we’ve had in 13 years, and people were really worried. I got on the phone with the police commissioner, the emergency management commissioner and all the key folks and confirmed that our first responders were getting what they needed to go," DeBlasio maintained. "We had enough people where we needed them that the actions were being taken to protect New Yorkers, and of course it was frustrating to be physically away, but every mayor knows sometimes you’re gonna travel. The most important question is: Are all the right people where they need to be are all the right plans in place?"
DeBlasio also declared on Thursday night during an event hosted by Buzzfeed that President Trump was "no longer welcome in New York City," prompting Concha to ask what authority the mayor had in keeping out a citizen of the state.
"My comment was based on the fact that he has created tremendous pain, not only here in New York, but all over this country. Remember, he lost NYC by 80 percent last time," DeBlasio said in reference to the 2016 election.
After Concha pointed out that Trump was polling higher in New York state, DeBlasio pressed on.
"I guarantee if I’m the Democratic nominee, I will beat him in New York state and all over the country. But in New York City what he has done is that he is forgotten where he came from. He basically has alienated the people in his own hometown over and over again by dividing us and disrespecting the work that’s done here all the time. We recognize in New York City we have to bring police and community back together. And we got rid of broken policies that Trump supports like stop and frisk, and you know what happened? Crime has gone down six years in a row and the relationship between police and community has improved and there’s a lot more mutual respect and communication."
DeBlasio was slammed by former mayor Rudy Giuliani and President Trump this week for not responding strongly enough to incidents in Harlem and Brooklyn of people disrespecting law enforcement by using buckets to splash and dump water over uniformed officers.
“We love our Law Enforcement Officers all around this great Country,” Trump, a longtime New York resident, tweeted Thursday. “What took place in NYC with water being tossed on NYPD officers was a total disgrace. It is time for @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio to STAND UP for those who protect our lives and serve us all so well.”
“What took place was completely unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. Bill de Blasio should act immediately!” Trump added.
Lawrence also asked about Andy Byford’s "Fast Forward" plan to make the subways fully accessible, especially since the cost would be high for the MTA whereas the city can order utility companies to move assets at their expense.
"Will The Mayor support legislation to put the MTA onto the same deal as the city?" she asked.
"We did something historic in April: the Governor and I teamed up. The legislature, everyone. We said we have to fully fund the MTA for the first time in its history and that plan is the game-changer. Included in that is accessibility," DeBlasio replied.
"For the first time having a really coherent strategy for making stations accessible and to bill that out over years in a really consistent manor. I’ll support that with whatever we need to get it done but I want people to remember, this was one case where government actually did work. Everyone realized the subways were in crisis and came up with a plan to fund them for the future," he added.
DeBlasio will be on stage for the next Democratic debate in Detroit on July 30.
He currently trails frontrunner Joe Biden by 28 points in the RealClearPolitics index of polls.
Listen to the full interview HERE.