Mayor Bill de Blasio discusses New York's post-election "fears" with Donald Trump
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he decried "hurtful" rhetoric and policies targeting immigrants and minorities during an hourlong meeting with Republican President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday.
"I reiterated to the president-elect that I would be open minded as we continue substantive discussions, but I would also be vigilant. And I would be swift to react anytime an action is taken that will undermine the people of New York City," said de Blasio, a liberal Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton for the presidency, at a news conference outside Trump Tower.
De Blasio, who's previously called billionaire Trump a racist and a demagogue, called the conversation "candid" and said although neither he nor the incoming president fundamentally moved on specific issues, they left the door open to further talks.
"Even though I have very real differences with the president-elect, he is a New Yorker. I do think he loves this city, but I thought it was very important for him to hear what people are feeling and very important for him to hear what our experience has been."
De Blasio told reporters outside Trump's midtown headquarters he conveyed his worries about the president-elect's choice of Steve Bannon as White House chief counselor.
Bannon, who stepped down as head of the alt-right news network Breitbart to work for the Trump campaign, has been castigated as a hate peddler by leaders including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and defended by the president-elect's supporters.
The mayor said he expressed "deep concerns about Mr. Bannon and the fact that I thought many people were afraid because of the things they had seen in Breitbart news and the fear they had that that suggested divisive policies."
De Blasio also said he reiterated his opposition to Trump's proposed tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, to his promises to swiftly deport undocumented immigrants and to any policies that would contribute to distrust between minority communities and the police.
"I talked to him about our Muslim community. I let him know something that so many people don't know — that there are 900 Muslim members of the NYPD, protecting all of us, protecting every community, every kind of person," the mayor said.
"We're going to stand up for anyone who because of any policy is excluded or affronted, be they members of the Muslim community, or the Jewish community, members of the LGBT community, women – anyone who feels policies are being undertaken that undermine them."
As to whether he directly blamed Trump for a reported increase in incidents of anti-Semitism, de Blasio was more circumspect.
"Well before this campaign we've seen a rise in anti-Semitism, certainly in other parts of the world, and we've seen a worrisome increase in some parts of this country as well. Part of why I think it's so important to remind the president-elect and his team that there are deep fears and concerns out there is because the wrong messages can encourage hateful acts," de Blasio said.
The mayor declined to say whether he'd prefer to see Trump spend more time at one of his other properties given the logistical and security headaches of having a president-elect operating out of midtown. NYPD officials are in talks with the Secret Service about how to handle the issue.
Watch the mayor's full remarks here: