For the notoriously outspoken anti-Trump New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, a recent speech held in the lobby of Trump Tower did not go as planned, as the embattled de Blasio was met with an onslaught of protesters.
Mayor de Blasio, who is widely expected to announce his decision regarding a 2020 presidential candidacy this week, struggled to speak over the noticeably loud music played by Trump Tower staff, as well as chants of “You suck!”
Additionally, de Blasio was taunted with several signs, some of which supported President Trump’s re-election in 2020, while others read “Worst Mayor Ever.”
When questioned as to whether the setting of his speech was appropriate, given the riotous response, de Blasio replied, “This is a public space where people are allowed to express their views.”
While de Blasio touted his speech as a message to the city’s large, high-emissions building owners, he was notably unable to name any other landlord or owner besides Donald Trump.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was heckled by Trump supporters as he unveiled a new environmental policy at Trump tower pic.twitter.com/Il41pFYTNO
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) May 13, 2019
An event designed to capture national attention for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s environmental record turned into a spectacle Monday, days before he’s expected to announce his decision on a White House run.
The news conference, held in the lobby of Trump Tower, was designed to put the president “on notice,” de Blasio said, for the pollution emitted by Trump’s buildings. But the event, moved inside at the last minute due to rain, was more of a circus than a rally.
Much of the mayor’s roughly eight-minute speech was drowned out by music played at curiously high volumes in the lobby, protesters shouting, “You suck,” among other profanities, and several people riding the escalators behind the mayor, toting signs that read “Trump 2020” and “Worst Mayor Ever.”
The din was so loud, de Blasio had to leave his lectern and request reporters walk forward just so he could hear their questions.
The event comes the same week the mayor said he will formally announce whether or not he plans to run for president. De Blasio, a Democrat, has teased a run for months, making trips to Iowa and New Hampshire to give speeches on some of his signature policies.
Monday’s event was meant to tout a City Council bill passed in April, which mandates buildings larger than 25,000 square feet cut their emissions or face fines. Buildings are the leading source of greenhouse gases in the city. The bill, which the mayor has yet to sign, is a symbol of the city’s “Green New Deal” and his intent to go after any landlord, “even the president of the United States,” the mayor said.
That message was somewhat blunted when the mayor was unable to name any other landlords with high-emissions buildings and when it was revealed de Blasio had been driven to the event — a sore spot for a mayor who has been criticized for regularly riding a gas-guzzling SUV to his local gym.
Asked if the venue and the ensuing chaos was the best way to get his message across, de Blasio defended the public’s right to protest.
“This is a public space where people are allowed to express their views,” de Blasio said. “In New York City, we’re perfectly tough. If people want to offer their opposition, it doesn’t change me one bit.”
Still, De Blasio rejected the premise that the event had the tone of a campaign rally.
“This is about a bill that was passed by the City Council that is very clear and serious about the consequences for building owners who do not comply with the law,” de Blasio said. “These buildings are a big part of the problem, and we’re making it very clear — it doesn’t matter who you are, even the President of the United States has to abide by the law of this city.”
“We have a message for President Trump and all the other big building owners in New York City: cut your emissions or we will cut something you really care about,” de Blasio said. “We will take your money. We will find you, we will hold you accountable.”