NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announces presidential run, insults Trump
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, adding his name to an already long list of candidates itching for a chance to take on Donald Trump.
The mayor announced his run with a video released by his campaign, then headed to the Statue of Liberty, where he said the country is in an "identity crisis" around immigration, which he called "the founding and unifying element of the American experience."
"We are figuring out who we are," he said. "There are American values we need to return to and fight for in order to achieve our greatest potential."
On his campaign's first day, he dove into an insult match with Trump.
During an appearance on "Good Morning America," de Blasio borrowed one of Trump's tactics by giving the president a disparaging nickname: Con Don.
"He's a con artist. I know his tricks. I know his playbook," the mayor said.
Trump tweeted that de Blasio was "considered the worst mayor in the U.S."
The president said, "He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he's your man. NYC HATES HIM!"
Speaking of dollars, de Blasio said in the video, "There's plenty of money in this world. There's plenty of money in this country. It's just in the wrong hands."
"I'm running for president because it's time we put working people first," he said.
In announcing his candidacy, de Blasio, 58, seeks to claim a role on the national stage that has eluded him as mayor of the biggest U.S. city.
When he took office in 2014, de Blasio seemed briefly poised to become a leading voice for an emerging left wing of the Democratic Party.
But liberal enthusiasm faded during his first term, partly because of political missteps at home and the emergence of bigger names elsewhere. He could face obstacles trying to distinguish himself in a crowded field.
After his appearance at the Statue of Liberty, for a ceremony opening a new museum, de Blasio planned to travel to Iowa to campaign Friday, then fly to South Carolina for events Saturday and early Sunday.
De Blasio has drawn small audiences so far in visits to early primary states including New Hampshire, where just six attendees showed up for a mental health discussion.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 76% of New York City voters say they believe he shouldn't run. And de Blasio's hometown press has, so far, delighted in disparaging his presidential hopes.
The New York Post on Thursday greeted his candidacy with a front-page photo of people laughing.
"De Blasio for President? 'Nah,'" read one recent New York Times headline summing up the city's reaction to a possible candidacy.
"Who hasn't told Bill de Blasio that he shouldn't run for president?" asked New York Magazine.
Local criticism has focused less on his policies than his reputation for stumbles, like showing up late to a memorial for plane crash victims, getting into a feud with the state's Democratic governor and dropping a groundhog during a Groundhog Day celebration.
Earlier this week, de Blasio held a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower to blame the skyscraper for contributing to air pollution, but the event turned comical as Trump supporters heckled the mayor, who had to shout to make himself heard.