Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live on MSNBC

November 1, 2017

Joe Scarborough:  Back to Morning Joe. 

Let’s bring in the Mayor of New York City now, Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor thank you so much for being with us. You obviously were on the scene immediately after yesterday. Anything we should know about that terrorist attack yesterday? And moving forward should we be worried about the New York Marathon? 

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Joe, look, first of all, I want to say the NYPD did an outstanding job and all of the first responders yesterday. Our brave young officer stopped that [inaudible] from ending up potentially a lot worse. And what’s amazing Joe, and you and your colleagues were talking about it. New Yorkers went back to business, back to work immediately. We had a Halloween Parade last night. We do it every year. A million people were there.

Scarborough: Wow.

Mayor: And I talked to a lot of them Joe, I talked to a lot of them. I’ve got to tell you their attitude was one of resilience, strength, persistence. They’re not going to let terrorists change our way of life. It made me very proud of New York City. 

Scarborough: Is that what you’re expecting for the New York City Marathon as well?

Mayor: I am.

Scarborough: Do you think it will go on uninterrupted?

Mayor: Absolutely, we think it’s important as a message to the whole world that we’re not going to change who we are. The marathon is a huge endeavor, very well organized. All of our uniformed services know how to handle it. NYPD will be out in even greater force Joe. You’ll see a lot of visible presence, a lot officers with long guns. You’ll see some things, other things you won’t see that are protecting us. But we’re confident it will go off as planned and it will be safe.

Mika Brzezinski: So let’s go to Willie Geist. The marathon is an iconic event in New York City and runners are – runners are resilient people for sure.

Mayor: Yes.

Brzezinski:  As we look forward to that. Willie Geist.

Willie Geist: Mayor de Blasio its Willie, good to see you this morning. Just to echo what you were saying – I was out trick or treating with my kids last night and the streets were absolutely full of children who went back out with their parents and went about doing what they would have done anyway. And just behind me –I’ am a block away Mr. Mayor from the Home Depot truck that was used in this attack. And I’m watching kids stream into school right outside the police tape. They’re walking right past the crime scene get back to their lives. But I want to ask you a little bit more about this suspect – 29-year-old Uzbek national we know rented the truck in New Jersey, drove it in. Came onto Houston Street, went down and took eight lives. Can you tell us anymore from what you’ve gathered from the New York Police Department about who this guy is?

Mayor: Look, Willie, NYPD, FBI, all our partners are working very closely on this investigation. It’s important not to go into a lot detail this early on in the investigation so we can get it right. But to the point you made – we made a decision last night to keep those schools open, to keep people on their everyday lives because, look, it’s so important to not give in, to not blink when we are affronted. And I got to tell you – I’m sorry those kids have to go by that site but I also think it says to them, we can overcome this, we are stronger than this, we’re better than this. And that’s the attitude I’ve seen in New York. So we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened Willie, and we are going to also assess other changes we need to make in our approach going forward. 

But one thing you will know for sure, you’re going to see a lot of NYPD presence throughout the week into the marathon and that deterrence is a big part of what we do. We’ve created the biggest anti-terrorism force of any police force in the country because that visible deterrence matters.

Brzezinski: Mike Barnicle.

Mike Barnicle: You know Mr. Mayor, as you move around this city, any part of the city, any of the boroughs in this city, you realize that each and every day is actually sort of a massive mini security detail.

Mayor: That’s right.

Barnicle: With New York Police Department and other ancillary organizations affiliated with the NYPD. The cost of it is enormous. What does a city like New York, given its world responsibilities, responsibility to the world and an attraction to the world do about covering those costs?

Mayor: Look, first of all Mike, we know we are the number one global, or number one, I should say, terror target in the United States of America and we understand that we have to be in a ready position. We have to be strong. We added 2,000 more police officers in the last two years largely so we could have that additional visible presence. We do bear a lot of that cost. Now we do expect some of that to be taken over by Washington and that’s historically been the case. You know in recent months some of that funding has been threatened for other political and policy reasons by the Trump Administration. My message has been consistently how on earth are going to take away anti-terrorism funding from the number one terror target in America. But we will bear the cost to the extent we can, you’d think the federal government would see it as a national priority to protect our biggest city.

Brzezinski: Mike?

Mike Lupica: Mr. Mayor, one of the things I was thinking about yesterday was it’s 16 years since 9/11. This doesn’t happen here, and it’s another way to honor the anti-terrorism people in the city and the cops in this city. Sixteen years is a long time, and there’s sometimes this feeling that it happens all the time. It never happens.

Mayor: It doesn’t. Mike, there have been 20 plots before this incident – 20 plots directed at New York City or originating in New York City – that were foiled by the NYPD, by the FBI. Intelligence gathering makes a huge difference. There are a lot of things that are stopped you never hear about on purpose. And we also know the times that everyday New Yorkers came forward, told police something that stopped an attack, or as we remember several years ago in Times Square ran over to an officer and stopped something right in the middle of an attack. This piece, you know, “if you see something, say something,” it’s not an idle phrase. Everyone can help our police to protect us. Any tip might be the lifesaver.

Brzezinski: And as the president as tweeting, I think it’s important to point out that everyday New Yorkers consist of people like the victims – people from Belgium, people from Argentina, people from all over the world that come here because they love New York.

Mayor: That’s right. And who keep up safe, and Mika, here’s such an important point. The NYPD believes deeply in building close relationships with every community. By the way, there are 900 Muslim officers in the NYPD who protect everyone. But because we are deep into communities we get the flow of information, and this is really the way forward for our country. We need to be able to encourage everyone to come forward. We’re all wearing the same uniform if you think about it, and if every community feels connected and invested and willing to come forward to the police, including our immigrant communities, that’s what actually keeps us safe.

Brzezinski: Well, we’re looking forward to Sunday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you very much for coming on the show this morning.

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