Despite President Trump’s mean tweet against Mayor Bill de Blasio, the mayor’s moving forward with plans to paint a Black Lives Matter mural along 5th Avenue, in front of Trump Tower.
During his weekly appearance on WNYC radio’s Brian Lehrer show on June 26, de Blasio confirmed that the city’s plans for the mural in front of the president’s namesake skyscraper at 721-725 Fifth Ave. Trump blasted the mayor on Twitter Thursday upon hearing of the mayor’s plans, but that didn’t phase de Blasio.
“In fact, the goal here is to, by acknowledging the truth of American history, the original sin of American history, slavery, and the oppression of Black people and showing that we won’t accept it in this day and age, is part of how we heal,” the mayor said.
De Blasio said the city has to not only “come to grips with this history,” but also “be blunt about it.”
“And we got to show the president and the world that Black lives matter. And by putting it right at his doorstep, we’re going to draw the attention of the world to it, and then go a lot farther,” the mayor said.
Black Lives Matter murals are being painted on streets across the five boroughs, at the mayor’s order, to recognize the ongoing movement toward ending racial injustice and police brutality. On Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the emancipation of the last slaves in America, de Blasio announced the creation of a Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission in New York City to, in part, help root out institutional racism and symbols of discrimination.
After de Blasio announced the Black Lives Matter mural near Trump Plaza, the president needled the mayor on Twitter, suggesting that the NYPD is angry with him. But de Blasio ignored that suggestion, further claiming that Trump — a former New York City resident now officially residing in Florida — “has no clue what’s going on” in the Big Apple.
“All he does, everyone knows it, his only trick – he’s a one trick pony, he divides,” de Blasio told Lehrer. “When he doesn’t know what’s going on, he tries to divide. In fact, the police force in New York City today is majority people of color. Many, many African American members of the NYPD including some of our leading, top officials in the NYPD who believe that Black lives matter. There are many, many officers who stand in solidarity of that notion of all backgrounds.”
The Black Lives Matter murals follow the example set by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, who had the words painted in yellow on the pavement of 16th Street NW, near the White House, earlier this month during the George Floyd protests. Bowser had also renamed two blocks of the roadway as Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Asked by Lehrer whether he thought painting the murals on New York City streets suggests an acknowledgement of “systemic bias in the NYPD,” de Blasio made a general deflection, acknowledging a “systemic bias in every part of New York City,” and that the administration would “look at every city institution” to address it.
This isn’t the first time that New Yorkers fed up with Trump have tried to make a public statement against him.
Last year, residents rallied outside Trump Tower calling on the city to rename the corner of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets as President Barack Obama Avenue. The renaming would honor the 44th President, whom Trump had slandered for years by falsely claiming Obama was not born in the U.S.A.