On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested on CNN that gatherings such as normal parades and fairs would be restricted in his city, but Black Lives Matter protests would not be shut down.
On Thursday, de Blasio helped paint a Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, and yelled, “We are saying Black Lives Matter in New York City and Black Lives Matter in the United States of America! Let’s show Donald Trump what he does not understand; let’s paint it right in front of his building for him!” Later, the mayor appeared on CNN with host Wolf Blitzer, who asked him, “What about protests? If people want to march down Fifth Avenue, are they going to be allowed to do so?”
De Blasio answered, “Look, Wolf, this is always an area of real sensitivity. If you’re just talking about health, we would always say, ‘Hey, folks, you know, stay home if you can.’ But we understand at this moment in history, people are talking about the need for historic changes. I mean, today, in New York City, recognizing the power and the meaning of the message Black Lives Matter, which we did in front of Trump Tower today, this is a historic moment of change; we have to respect that, but also say to people, the kinds of gatherings we’re used to – the parades, the fairs – we just can’t have that while we’re focusing on health right now.”
Later, de Blasio declared that painting the mural was not “denigrating” Fifth Avenue, as President Trump had tweeted, but “liberating” it.
President Trump had tweeted on July 1:
….horrible BLM chant, “Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon”. Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
De Blasio called Trump’s remarks about the mural “pure racism” as he stated:
Wolf, it was such an important message. The people of this city believe black lives matter, and we wanted to send that message to our whole city, but to our whole nation. And in fact, here was an opportunity for the President of the United States to show respect for the fact that that’s what we value here. And what did he do? He literally tweeted that writing “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue would “denigrate the luxury of that avenue.” That is pure racism. That is acting like an acknowledgment of the value of black people is somehow belittling, when in fact what we’re trying to do is lift up people who have built this city and built America and haven’t been given their respect. And it can’t just be words, Wolf, it has to be actions.
So we’re taking resources from our police department and putting it into youth programs. We’re acknowledging institutional racism and coming up with specific plans to tear it down. We need to take this transcendent moment and get the most out of it. But the president, rather than having a chance to acknowledge America’s original sin, he literally made it worse by suggesting that honoring black people on Fifth Avenue would somehow make it less valuable or luxurious. I gotta tell you, people are outraged by that, but more importantly, they’re speaking out, and folks today felt jubilant and triumphant. We were not denigrating Fifth Avenue; we were liberating Fifth Avenue by putting those crucial words right there in front of President Trump’s building.
Have you ever seen a more useless politician than Bill de Blasio?
This is just pathetic. pic.twitter.com/3hiTW2aCn7
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 9, 2020
Bill DeBlasio has completely blown NYC’s budget, and his wife “misplaced” $800K through her Thrive NYC program that was supposed to help minority children but had had nothing to show for itself. This—painting—is how they try to distract from that. https://t.co/OUaE2DSWbf
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) July 9, 2020