New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that he has largely given up hope that he will be able to work with the Trump administration on any policy issues.
“I am much less hopeful,” de Blasio, a Democrat, told POLITICO New York’s Laura Nahmias in an on-stage interview in Miami. “Look, I had massive disagreements with the platform Donald Trump ran on and the things he said about the people of this country and obviously the people of my city. But again, there was that hope immediately after the election that maybe there would be moderation, maybe some things were rhetoric, other things would be different in practice.”
“Sadly, we have not seen that,” he continued. “The rhetoric has actually played out in practice.”
“The hope for some moderation, for some balance, is largely gone,” he added, citing Trump’s actions on immigration and the health care proposal making its way through Congress.
De Blasio said he last spoke with a representative from the administration about six weeks ago, when he discussed issues including health care, infrastructure, the budget and tax policy with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The mayor said he raised his concerns that the administration’s proposals, like those on health care and the budget, would harm the economy.
The mayor said he intends to keep a dialogue open “to the extent I can” on issues such as security for Trump Tower, “but if you’re talking about the big policy areas, I think the action is entirely in the Congress, from my point of view.”
“It’s clear the White House is not trying to work with mayors,” he said.
De Blasio, who is trying to work with other mayors to lobby against the Republican health care bill unveiled in the Senate on Thursday, offered a sharp critique of that proposal, arguing that it represents a “clear and present danger” for cities and their residents.
“You’re talking about fundamentally undermining health care in our cities,” he said.
The mayor criticized Republicans for pushing to vote on the bill next week and urged them to slow down and moderate the proposal.
De Blasio also sounded off on the current state of the Democratic Party. He said Democrats need to unite behind a “consistent” progressive economic message to win in 2018, which he said they failed to do in 2016 despite having what he described as the right platform.
Asked who the party’s de facto leader is right now, he said there isn’t one, though he praised Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, as the most visible leader in the party who has “really rallied the troops effectively.”
“We don’t have a singular leader at this moment, and we don’t have a singular message,” de Blasio said.
He declined to weigh in on whether New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, frequently discussed as a possible presidential candidate, would be the right person to run in 2020.