If you’re a high-profile Democrat looking to convince voters that you’ll get tough on President Trump, there’s no better place to deliver that message than on the president’s home turf — except, perhaps, if you’re New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and that turf is a hastily erected podium in front of the escalators at Trump Tower.
On Monday, de Blasio held an event in the foyer of Trump Tower to tout the New York City Green New Deal. Flanked by supporters holding “NYC Green New Deal” signs, de Blasio, who is weighing a 2020 White House bid, declared that he was putting the president’s family business on notice for not cutting greenhouse emissions.
Then the protesters showed up.
“Well, everybody, the Green New Deal — the New York City Green New Deal is here to stay,” de Blasio told the crowd, while behind him a small group of Trump supporters could be seen riding the escalators.
Waving and holding signs reading “Trump 2020,” “Failed Mayor,” “LGBT for Trump” and “Worst Mayor Ever,” the protesters rode up and down the escalators, over and over again, providing some enthusiastic counterprogramming as de Blasio delivered his remarks.
De Blasio, a Democrat who won a second term as mayor in 2017, has been openly mulling a presidential bid. He told supporters Monday that he plans to make a final decision “this week.”
As he inches closer to an announcement, the mayor has faced opposition and even mockery from some New Yorkers. Late last month, a flier posted on the door of the mayor’s favorite gym, the Park Slope YMCA, declared that any patron entering the premises must agree “not to run for President of the United States in 2020 or in any future presidential race.”
Asked by a reporter about the “circuslike atmosphere” at Monday’s gathering — where loud music and hoots and jeers from demonstrators at times interrupted the mayor — de Blasio said that the original plan was to hold the event outside but that the bad weather forced a last-minute change in venue.
“But it’s a public place, and you know what — in New York City, we’re perfectly tough,” he said. “If people want to offer their opposition, it doesn’t change me one bit.”
He added that he was “not at all” concerned the protesters might overshadow the event.
“They’re just music to my ears, because it means we’re doing something important in New York City,” he said. “If all these people who support President Trump are opposing what we’re doing, we must be doing something right.”
The president’s son Eric Trump, who is helping to run the Trump Organization during his father’s presidency, responded to de Blasio in a series of tweets late Monday afternoon, arguing that it was “childish” of the mayor to hold “a pop-up press conference in our lobby.”
“The fact that the Mayor of a major city would attack an iconic organization (which employs thousands of hardworking New York taxpayers) for his own political gain is an abuse of power, unethical and simply counterintuitive,” the younger Trump said.