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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live on MSNBC's Morning Joe

April 22, 2019

Mika Brzezinski: From the former Mayor of New York City, to the new New York’s current Mayor – Democrat Bill de Blasio joins the show this morning. Welcome back, good to see you.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good to see you, happy Earth Day.

Brzezinski: Happy Earth Day.

Joe Scarborough: Happy Earth Day. I like the tie. So, Mr. Mayor and then there was 19. Seth Moulton got in to the race this morning. On Wednesday, I suspect we will have Joe Biden jumping in to be the 20th announced Democrat challenging Donald Trump. Will you be lucky 21?

Mayor: I like that, lucky 21. Well, I am going to make a decision soon, I can certainly tell you that. And the important point here in this whole discussion is that Democrats kind of have to come to grips with the fact that there is an election in 2020. It’s an election we are not going to win at this point.

Scarborough: Right.

Mayor: Donald Trump actually can win. And Democrats have to be strong and clear, and bold, and progressive in our messages or we’re not going to make it. And I actually think more attention needs to be on that fact, we’re not speaking enough to people’s lives, and their feeling. And there is an open opportunity here for Democrats to do that. Part of why we’ve announced you know, the whole idea of big, bold ideas that actually reach people like the New York City Green New Deal. It’s important for people to understand if you’re not talking to people’s everyday lives, if you’re not talking to them about things they’re actually feeling like global warming. Don’t be surprised if Donald Trump is back in the White House.

Scarborough: So, we’ll get to New York’s Green New Deal in a moment. Let’s talk a little bit more about the presidential campaign. You say you’re going to be making a decision in the near future. First of all, can you give us a rough timeline and also what are some of the things that you’re weighing on whether you think that your voice is uniquely suited for this time?

Mayor: Well, Joe, first of all this of course is a family a decision. So, the most important factor is the discussions with my family, but I would tell you this much. Here in New York City over these last five years, we’ve proven time and time again that you can take on the big issues like income inequality and public safety and global warming, it can be done. You know, the safest big city in America. We have taken bold steps to reduce global warming; we’re reducing emissions 30 percent here in New York City by the actions we’ve taken. We brought police and community together. We’ve addressed income inequality head on with things like Paid Sick Leave, and Paid Time Off for working people. These are –

Scarborough: So, so, so get to your timing. Yeah, yeah, yeah so now okay. So, you say that for the campaign and answer my question here. Which is what’s your time frame for making that decision? And how will you cut through in a field of 20 people if you jump in?

Mayor: So, time frame, soon. How do you cut through? I am not going to do too many hypotheticals since I’m not a candidate yet. But I do think the point is to speak about [inaudible] clear, bold, progressive change, and prove you can do it. That’s where it really comes down – that’s what people are looking for.

Scarborough: What about right now? There is a debate in the Democratic Party about whether the Democratic Party should pursue impeachment, because that’s Congresses constitutional duty. Or and I’ll just say it, so you don’t have to. Or whether you do what’s politically actually more astute, I won’t even say safe, more astute. And that is talk about issues that impact Americans, because every Democrat I’ve talked to on the campaign trail says nobody talks about Russia, nobody talks about Mueller. They talk about their future, they talk about their family, they talk about their situation.

Mayor: Yeah, and Joe, you know, from the folks you represented in Congress that that’s where people at the kitchen table in their everyday lives. And Democrats bluntly for many years have not done a great job of speaking to people’s everyday lives. So I would say let’s get that part right. If we don’t get that part right, you could see Donald Trump re-elected.  If we do get it right, and to some extent we saw that in the 2018 Congressional elections. A focus on health care and making sure it would be affordable for people, being clear that the Trump tax cuts were a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations and that people deserved a repeal of those tax cuts. Those issues actually resonated, because they got to folks in their day to day life. There’s a lot more to do in that vein. And that’s where our first focus has to be. You know, I understand there is so much in the Mueller report that literally could lead to impeachment. It’s a very real option. But while we don’t know the future of the impeachment proceedings, we do know there is a scheduled election and it’s real soon. And if Democrats are not sharp and bold, and speaking every day to people’s lives, then don’t be surprised if we get the wrong result. We have to learn this lesson finally. And I don’t want folks to be so focused on their hopes surrounding impeachment proceeding, that they forget to do the first thing we’re here to do, which is to provide a vision of change. We have to be the party that says the status quo isn’t working for everyday Americans and we have to be sharp and bold. If people think we’re just part of the status quo, we’re just another elite, we’re not going to win. If we say, here’s how we break from that status quo, we’re going to tax the wealthy at a much higher level, we are going to disrupt, we are doing things like, we’ve announced here in New York City, I did it right here on this show, we are going to provide a guarantee of health care for all New Yorkers. Americans want to hear actual solutions like that.

Scarborough: So talk about New York’s Green New Deal, obviously the one presented in congress is actually caused a riff even among Democrats, what are you doing in New York City, how does that provide a road map for Democrats and independents and some progressive or forward thinking Republicans nationwide?

Mayor: We are actually making the Green New Deal come alive here in New York City. So we have our own Green New Deal, it’s three very basic ideas. One, the biggest source of emissions in New York City is buildings. We are putting clear, strong mandates, the first of any major city on the Earth, to say to building owners, you got to clean up your act, you got to retrofit, you got to save energy, if you don’t do it by 2030 there will be serious fines, as high as a million dollars or more for the biggest buildings. And this mandate is going to guarantee that we reduce admissions. We are going to ban the classic glass and steal skyscrapers which are incredibly inefficient. If someone wants to build one of those things they can take a whole lot of steps to make it energy efficient but we are not going to allow what we used to see in the past. And the City of New York, the government, which uses about as much energy in a year as do the people and the businesses of the State of Vermont, we are going to get all of our energy from renewable sources in the next five years.

Brzezinski: Jonathan Lemire.

Jonathan Lemire: So these are the big broad strokes for the plan, they could have wide impact, these are civic decisions. But there are also personal things that people can do. You talk about some of the things you do in your own life, you recycle, your staff has said you go around City Hall turning off lights and so on. But I also do need to ask, you live on the Upper East Side in Gracie Mansion, most days or several days a week, a city SUV drives you 11 miles to a gym in Brooklyn as opposed to one that’s close to where you currently reside. What sort of environmentally responsible example are you setting there, taking this drive, in a car, as opposed to going someplace nearby?

Mayor: So the example we are setting first of foremost, let’s look at this exact question before us. The plans we have put forward we are acting on will reduce emissions 30 percent in all of New York City by 2030. That’s where we make huge change. To the question you asked, look wherever I go in New York City, whether I take a subway, whether I go nearby or farther away to another borough, I have a security detail that follows me in their cars either way. So let’s be clear, this is just part of my life. I come from that neighborhood in Brooklyn. That’s my home, I go there on a regular basis to stay connected to where I come from and not be in the bubble that I think for a lot of politicians is a huge problem. But the fact is that those cars and that security detail are part of the life of being Mayor of New York City.

Lemire: Switching gears, it was a sort of jarring headlines for a lot of people in the year 2019, that we had a measles outbreak –

Mayor: Yes.

Lemire: -- in New York City, in Brooklyn, not too far from where we sit. Can you give us an update on that and also the efforts to sort of mandate vaccinations to people who have not received any, particularly children in that community?

Mayor: Jonathan, it was time to be very aggressive. And you know, we tried hard to use the normal public health outreach efforts and education efforts but there is a strong anti-vaxxer movement that really was affecting particularly one of our neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Williamsburg. And we couldn’t let that go unanswered. So I ordered that we would mandate vaccinations. Now since that order almost 1,000 kids have gotten vaccinated. That’s a really good sign. And we believe over the next few weeks we will see this crisis end. But we have had to close a few schools, in fact the religious schools that had too many kids coming to school unvaccinated. We had to give out violations to individuals with real fines attached. This is not something you ever want to do, but measles can be fatal. Measles can cause brain damage, measles should never been taken lightly for kids and for a number adults it can be a danger. So it was time to be tough and time to show there would be consequences.

Scarborough: Well Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you for coming on the show so much.

Brzezinski: Thank you Mayor.

Mayor: Thank you.

Scarborough: We appreciate it. And we have Lemire there just to prove that you can take the boy out of the Daily News, but you can’t take the Daily News out of the boy.


Mayor: But Joe, Boston Red Sox fan, Jonathan Lemire.

Scarborough: Wow.

Lemire: Boston Red Sox fan Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mayor: Yes, and Joe Scarborough too.

Lemire: Is Joe a Red Sox fan?

Mayor: Yes he is.

Brzezinski: Oh yeah, big time.

Mayor: Joe, I always admired your excellent judgement in baseball.



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