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De Blasio enters 2020 race for president, saying 'Donald Trump must be stopped'

De Blasio touted himself as ready to take on President Donald Trump and income inequality in an announcement video Thursday morning.

De Blasio enters 2020 race for president

Mayor Bill de Blasio officially entered the 2020 race for president on Thursday.  (Credit: Bill de Blasio)

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday morning made official his bid for the White House with a YouTube video touting him as ready to take on President Donald Trump and income inequality nationally as he had locally.

“There’s plenty of money in this world. There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands,” the Democrat says in a three-minute video titled “Working People First, Bill de Blasio 2020.”

He followed the message in a brief live appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," alongside his wife, Chirlane McCray. 

"Working Americans deserve better and I know we can do it, because I've done it here in the largest, toughest city in this country," de Blasio said.

De Blasio, 58, born in Manhattan and raised in Massachusetts, enters a crowded primary field that numbers nearly two dozen Democrats.

Trump, a Republican and native New Yorker, tweeted criticisms of the Democrats and de Blasio after his announcement.

"He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man," Trump wrote. "NYC HATES HIM!" 

Several protesters were outside the ABC studios in Times Square while the mayor was on air, including members of the NYPD's rank-and-file officers' union, who chanted: "Can't run the city! Can't run the country!" 

The New York Post, a newspaper regularly critical of the mayor, ran a cover Thursday with a photo illustration that showed people appearing to laugh at his ambitions for higher office.

Polling has showed little support for de Blasio's presidential bid at home or across the country. A Quinnipiac University poll last month showed 76 percent of city voters believed he should not run for the White House. Monmouth University polls last month and in March showed him at 1 percent support among potential primary voters nationally compared with other Democratic candidates.

"It’s not where you start, it’s where you end," de Blasio said on "Good Morning America" when asked about his poll numbers.

Indeed, de Blasio was elected mayor in 2013 with a come-from-behind victory, though the top architects of that campaign won't be joining him in his bid to unseat Trump.

Communications strategist Lis Smith now works for the race's other sitting mayor, Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and NBC News reported Thursday that advertising guru John Del Cecato also has joined Buttigieg's campaign.

De Blasio is set to depart later Thursday for Iowa, where he will campaign until Friday. De Blasio then is set to travel to South Carolina for the weekend. McCray will join him for part of the trip.

His YouTube video and "Good Morning America" appearance were laden with attacks on Trump.

“I’m a New Yorker, I’ve known Trump’s a bully a long time,” de Blasio says in the video. “This is not news to me or anyone else here, and I know how to take him on.”

"He's trying to convince working Americans he’s on their side. It’s been a lie from Day One," de Blasio said of Trump on the morning show, giving the president the nickname "Con Don."

The mayor has been mulling a bid for president since January, making stops before small crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire and other states with first-in-the-nation primaries.

The Republican National Committee criticized de Blasio Thursday morning as another far-left candidate in the Democratic primary.

“Bill de Blasio is a liberal extremist who wants the government to control everything from your health care to what you eat,” RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens said in a statement. “Americans can rest assured that he won't win, but unfortunately his socialist policies fit right in with the rest of his comrades in the race.”

De Blasio must meet a polling or fundraising threshold to qualify for next month’s Democratic National Committee debates. He has acknowledged he may not ultimately make it to the stage.

In the announcement video, de Blasio lists his accomplishments as a progressive Democratic leader of the city: raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, implementing paid sick leave, guaranteeing health care access and mental health services and rolling out free universal prekindergarten.

“As president, I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big corporations, I will not rest until this government serves the working people,” the mayor says.

But his scandals and low points as the city’s top executive have included a toxic lead paint crisis in the public housing system, local and state investigations into his fundraising practices and tensions with the NYPD that early in this tenure led some rank-and-file officers to literally turn their backs to him at fellow officers’ funerals.

De Blasio, a former City Council member and city public advocate, was elected mayor on a platform of addressing income inequality and tackling “the tale of two cities.”

He challenges Trump directly in the video, denouncing the president over family separations at the southern border and the reduction of security funding for New York City.

“Donald Trump must be stopped. I've beaten him before and I will do it again,” de Blasio says.


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