Add Democratic attorney general Letitia James to the long list of New Yorkers—and Americans—who don’t understand why Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) is running for president.
De Blasio became the 23rd or 24th Democrat, depending on the count, to join the field on Thursday with a video about putting “Working People First.” Part of the announcement showed him being chauffeured around New York City in his limousine.
Asked about her excitement level at the idea of his White House bid, James playfully didn’t respond at first in front of a Brooklyn audience. She instead waved at the laughing crowd before answering “Pod Save America” host Tommy Vietor.
“Seriously, listen, we need a mayor who’s going to be on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said, before leading a call-and-response with the crowd asking if issues like affordable housing, environmental issues, and income equality had been addressed. “No!” they shouted.
“So what is the legacy? What are you running on?” she asked. “Has school segregation been addressed? So all of these issues and more—obviously, listen, he can run, he’s the 23rd candidate, I understand that, but the question is why? Por que? Like, what’s up?”
“But he’s a friend,” she added, drawing more laughs.
She’s hardly alone. A recent poll showed 76 percent of New Yorkers didn’t want de Blasio to run for president.
MSNBC interviewed a stream of New Yorkers on Thursday who ripped him for entering the field, including one who said it felt like an April Fool’s joke.
He was heckled outside the ABC News studios on Thursday by opponents shouting, “Can’t run the city, can’t run the country.” A crowd of police officers waved orange foam fingers calling the mayor, who has had a famously troubled relationship with the New York’s finest, a “liar.”
He was easily re-elected to a second term in 2017, but his approval rating is just 42 percent in a recent survey. De Blasio’s City Hall has been plagued by boondoggles like a failed mental health initiative, the continued issues with the city’s subway system, eyebrow-raising policies like calling for the retrofitting of all skyscrapers, and accusations of political favoritism and laziness.
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