Mayor Bill de Blasio became the 23rd person to enter the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race Thursday morning with an announcement on a network morning news show.
Following his speech at the dedication ceremony for the Statue of Liberty Museum, a confident de Blasio held his first press conference since becoming a presidential candidate.
“I intend to break the mold, I intend to make history, and I intend to win,” de Blasio said.
His campaign began with a slick three minute video posted on social media in which de Blasio ran through a number of successes including the $15 minimum wage, guaranteed health care and paid sick leave intercut with cityscapes. The Mayor fired away at President Trump calling him a bully and declaring that he is the best equipped to beat him in 2020.
“I’m the CEO. I’m the chief executive of the biggest city in the country,” de Blasio told reporters. “I have the kind of experience that very few people in this race happen to have.”
De Blasio then zeroed in on Trump.
“He’s a con man and we New Yorkers know a con man when we see one,” he said. “I know how to challenge this guy guy, I’ve been watching him his whole adult life and I’ve seen all of his tricks and I’m going to go right at him.”
The Mayor was not concerned about joining the race so late in the game.
“It’s not where you start but where you finish,” de Blasio said. “I have been in so many elections where the first polls had me way, way back. I’ve won 10 elections in a row. I’ve never lost an election. When people hear what this campaign is about, it’s about putting working people first, it will move a lot of people.”
De Blasio’s announcement was met with derision on Twitter, mostly by reporters who cover City Hall. Queens politicians avoided the subject on social media, perhaps because budget negotiations continue. It did not stop City Councilman Eric Ulrich, a frequent critic of the mayor, from tweeting “I guess @BilldeBlasio thinks being mayor is a part-time job. What a joke!”
The Mayor said he will rely on his staff at City Hall.
“We have a very strong team, I have every confidence in my team,” de Blasio said. “I am going to be on top of each situation here all the time like I always am. I’m confident we can make it work.”
One Bayside resident begged to differ.
“It is laughable that a mayor who has shown no interest in running New York City for six years now says he wants to mismanage the entire country,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said. “While the mayor of our nation’s largest city is busy running around Iowa and getting upstaged by the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, there are real problems here at home. New York City Police officers are continuing to suffer with wages 30% below market rate because the mayor has totally checked out of our contract process.”
The rank and file of the NYPD have taken to showing up to protest de Blasio when he makes out of town appearances. Several of them protested the Mayor during his appearance on Good Morning America.
“After six years of disrespect for the police officers who keep our city safe, it’s perfectly clear how the mayor treats men and women in uniform,” Lynch said. “As commander-in-chief, he would be an unmitigated disaster. New York deserves better and the country deserves better.”