Days After Calling for Protests, De Blasio Meets With Trump

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) -
Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a news conference in front of Trump Tower Wednesday following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a news conference in front of Trump Tower Wednesday following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Two days after calling on Americans to protest the election of Donald Trump, Mayor Bill de Blasio met with the president-elect for an hour Wednesday at Trump Tower and told him that many New York City residents are “fearful” of what his administration could bring.

“I tried to express to him how much fear there is, how much fear there is in communities all over this city,” de Blasio told reporters after the meeting, adding that there are “a whole range of people in the biggest city in the country who are fearful about this current dynamic.”

“We need to see things that give people more assurance that all New Yorkers and all Americans will be respected,” the mayor said.

The mayor, a liberal Democrat, and the Republican president-elect have clashed repeatedly, with de Blasio saying Trump was “unfit” to hold the presidency and Trump declaring that de Blasio was the worst mayor in the United States.

But the men spoke briefly last week and de Blasio described his meeting Wednesday as “respectful” and “candid” with a real “give and take.” De Blasio declined to categorize Trump’s responses, although he disagreed with a reporter’s suggestion that he “lectured” Trump.

De Blasio is running for re-election next year and might have found a perfect foil in Trump, who overwhelmingly lost the vote in his hometown of New York City to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and whose election has spurred some protests across the city. Despite middling poll numbers, de Blasio has yet to face a credible challenger and made clear that he would not shy away from taking the fight to Trump.

A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday indicates that a double-digit majority of New Yorkers believe de Blasio does not deserve reelection. The mayor’s solace is the 49 to 39 percent who said this comes from the perception that he faces no credible challenger in a hypothetical Democratic primary.

So far, former Council Speaker Christine Quinn would be the only serious challenger running as an independent candidate in a general election.

If the election were held today, de Blasio would take 34 percent, compared to Quinn’s 15 percent, 9 percent for City Comptroller Scott Stringer, 7 percent for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and 6 percent for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

One on one, de Blasio would beat Quinn by just six points, or 41 to 35 percent.

De Blasio’s power base remains the African-American community. They approve of his performance by a 71 to 22 percent margin, compared to white voters disapproving of him by 67 to 28 percent. Hispanic voters approve 59 to 35 percent.

“At this early stage, only a general election challenge looks to be potential political trouble for the mayor,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. ”The city’s black community loves him, as has been the case since Day One, and that big support gives him a commanding edge in a Democratic primary.”

“Even with the racial split, Mayor de Blasio gets a stand-off in job approval. And a plurality of New Yorkers say he doesn’t deserve a second term,” Carroll added.

Overall, New York City voters give de Blasio a split 47 to 44 percent favorability rating.

Trump’s team has signaled that, even after taking office, he plans to spend time in the gilded Manhattan skyscraper that bears his name, presenting a security challenge for the city’s police and potentially snarling traffic for is residents. De Blasio said he would address the security situation later this week.