De Blasio expresses New Yorkers' 'fears' in meeting with Trump


Mayor Bill de Blasio and President-elect Donald Trump met for more than an hour at Trump Tower on Wednesday, with the mayor voicing his concerns over several issues, including immigrants’ rights and stop-and-frisk policies. 

The meeting between the often-contentious pair comes as Trump Tower was made more secure. On Wednesday, the block in front of the building was closed to foot traffic as dozens lined the curb across the street, looking on at the media gathered by the gold entrance. Some people stood outside the iconic Tiffany building next door, behind a barricade that forced people to exit onto the corner.

Speaking on the sidewalk afterward, de Blasio wouldn’t talk about Trump’s responses to any of the issues he raised. 

“This was a respectful meeting and a substantive meeting and a very candid meeting,” de Blasio said after the 62-minute sit-down. “I told him what I believed, and I told him what I was hearing from my fellow New Yorkers. And there was a give-and-take, but my job is to make crystal clear what is happening out there in this city.” 

De Blasio said he and Trump discussed several topics, including the regulation of Wall Street, proposed tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the proposed deportation of immigrants, and the mayor’s “deep concerns” over the appointment of Stephen Bannon as chief White House strategist and senior counselor. He said he feels it’s important for Trump to hear “the voices of the people,” and to offer some perspective outside the “transition bubble.”

“I raised my concerns about any repeal of the Dodd-Frank bill,” de Blasio said, adding that he was worried about “going backward.” The financial reform legislation, formally named the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, was passed in 2010 in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

The two also talked about police and community relations. On the campaign trail, Trump spoke of his support for stop-and-frisk policies, and de Blasio said he offered a New York perspective, including that the city is “never going back to that policy.”

In regard to deportation, de Blasio called New York City “the ultimate city of immigrants” and said he offered Trump a perspective from the NYPD on the subject, making the case that any deportation initiative would create a rift between police and communities. 

Last month, the NYPD announced its plans to further shift its focus away from numbers of arrests and summonses, and toward building strong relationship with communities. De Blasio said deportations under a Trump administration would make it impossible for police and residents to work together and called the proposal “counterproductive.”

De Blasio warned that any of Trump’s potentially exclusionary policies would undermine the city, including the 900 officers of the Muslim faith who serve in the NYPD.

In the days since Trump has been elected, there have been several reported incidents of bias crimes, including swastikas drawn on a Crown Heights street and on a dorm room door at The New School. 

“More has to be done to show that this country can heal and that people will be respected,” de Blasio said, adding that he addressed the “fears” of New Yorkers and raised concerns about some of Trump’s “hateful” rhetoric.

Although de Blasio did not characterize Trump’s responses after the meeting, he did express a feeling that there was room for dialogue and vowed to remain ”open-minded, but vigilant.” 

“I’m not going to assume based on one meeting what the outcomes will be,” he said. “It was important to have the meeting to assert the interests of the people of New York City and to give him that perspective. Where it goes from here will tell us a lot.

“I’ve certainly made clear that I am open to a dialogue. But no, nothing about people’s fundamental beliefs changed in the meeting, obviously,” de Blasio added. “The ball’s in his court — people in this city, and all over the country, are looking to see what he’s going to do.”

De Blasio, a progressive Democrat, had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. On Election Day, he spoke candidly outside of his polling site in Park Slope, Brooklyn, about his confidence that Clinton would win the election and Trump would need to accept the results.

Since Trump began his campaign, de Blasio has been outspoken about the need to defeat the Republican. The two rarely traded barbs head-on, but in a tweet nearly a year ago, Trump slammed de Blasio as the worst mayor in the country.

“N.Y.C. has the worst Mayor in the United States. I hate watching what is happening with the dirty streets, the homeless and crime! Disgrace,” Trump tweeted.

De Blasio had fired back, telling CNN that he “didn’t care” what Trump said about him.

With Alison Fox 

 

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