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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Puts Trump Organization on Notice to Cut Greenhouse Emissions or Face Big Penalties

May 13, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, Rachel, thank you. Your story is so powerful. And Rachel, your family has been through so much. My heart was feeling your story of everything your family has been through here in New York and in Puerto Rico. You know what global warming means – it’s personal for you but you’re doing something about. You’re fighting for a change. You’re fighting for the New York City Green New Deal. Let’s thank Rachel. Let’s thank her for all she’s doing –

[Applause]

Well, everybody, the Green New Deal – the New York City Green New Deal is here to stay. It is bold, it is audacious, it is necessary. And we’re making it happen here in the biggest city in the country. This City – this city government will convert to 100 percent renewable energy for the city government’s use. We will convert to electric cars. We will show that things can be different and we are going to show that our buildings will no longer be able to pollute and destroy our environment. We are standing up and we have passed a mandate – and thank you to the City Council for their leadership – we have a passed a mandate in this city requiring buildings to stop the destructive emissions and that begins with this building right here, Trump Tower.

[Applause]

And clearly, the Trump Organization is a little sensitive to the fact that we’re calling them out for what they are doing to the climate and the way this building is a part of the problem. But we will not back down. We don’t back down in New York City, do we?

Audience: No.

Mayor: You’re going to see today just how much Donald Trump and the Trump Organization will owe the City of New York if they don’t get right, if they don’t fix their buildings. And everyone here fought for the New York City Green New Deal. Everyone here helped to make it happen. I want to call them out and thank them.

I want to thank UNITE HERE Local 100.

[Applause]

I want to thank the Sunrise Movement.

[Applause]

I want to thank the New York League of Conservation Voters.

[Applause]

I want to thank the Professional Staff Congress.

[Applause]

And, of course, I want to thank New York Communities for Change.

[Applause]

And thank you to Dan Zarrilli and Mark Chambers, of my team, who led the way on the New York City Green New Deal.

Now, when we announced the New York City Green New Deal, guess what, we were attacked by President Trump, we were attacked by Fox News. They called it crazy.

You know what’s crazy? Allowing our Earth to be destroyed by emissions.

You know what’s crazy? Buildings destroying the future for our children and grandchildren.

What’s crazy is accepting a status quo that is not working for working people. That’s what we’re standing up against.

How bad is the problem that the president has created with these buildings? Remember he’s not just a problem because of his policies in Washington, he’s a problem because his buildings are among the biggest polluters in New York City. Trump’s buildings in New York City produce as much greenhouse gases as 5,800 cars a year and we won’t allow him to go on like that.
So, we have a message for President Trump and all the other big building owners in New York City. Cut your emissions or we will cut something you really care about – we will take your money. We will find you, we will hold you accountable.

[Applause]

Now, when I was coming in, I heard you all say it perfectly – and I want you to say it loud here, and say it loud enough, scream it out loud enough that they can hear it all the way to the White House. Our planet, not your profit. Ready?

Everyone: Our planet, not your profit. Our planet, not your profit. Our planet, not your profit. Our planet, not your profit. Our planet, not your profit. Our planet, not your profit. Our planet, not your profit. Our planet, not your profit.

Mayor: Beautiful. Well done, everybody. So, here’s a message to President Trump – don’t mess with your home town. Maybe President Trump has forgotten where he comes from, this is the city that went through Sandy, this is a city that suffered because of global warming and we are still vulnerable. So my message to the president is simple – respect New Yorkers, pay attention to what your own home town is going through, fix your buildings, and while you are at it, fix your policies, rejoin the Paris Agreement, make the United States of America a leader on fighting global warming, not a follower. And we are going to be very clear with President Trump, we will not let you mortgage our future for your real estate.

[Applause]

We know why we need a New York City Green New Deal because right here in New York City, the United Nations issued a report and it was a sobering report. They said we have 12 years, 12 years to get it right before the effects of global warming are too great. That’s why we need to focus now and we are taking action right now. Meanwhile what have they done in Washington? The President has stocked his climate – excuse me, the president has stocked his cabinet with climate change deniers and millionaires and fossil fuel executives who are taking us backwards. The president is acting like the chief climate denier when he should be the chief leading the effort to fight global warming. So we are doing what we can do. And every New York City building will be held accountable. Now there’s a chart over here. And take a look at it when you get a chance, this chart makes clear that if the president does not comply with the laws of New York City, this building alone will cost him a half million dollars in fines, half a million dollars in fines if he doesn’t get it right. And that is this kind of penalty even Donald Trump understands. His eight buildings combined would be over $2.1 million in fines every single year if they do not meet the standards set by the City of New York. We know the president is sensitive about money, we know he lost over a billion dollars a few decades ago. I don’t think he wants to lose millions more because he is not following the laws of this city. So we, we in New York City are going to lead the way, we in New York City are going to show how it’s done.

Audience: That’s right.

Mayor: And it’s not just our buildings. We are going to take every action we can to cut our dependence on fossil fuels and that’s why I want to be very clear about an important decision coming later this week related to the Williams pipeline. The Williams pipeline will take us in the wrong direction.

Audience: That’s right.

Mayor: The Williams pipeline will take a bad situation and make it worse.

[Applause]

So I am here to say, no, no to the Williams pipeline. We need to strand the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to say no to the Williams pipeline.

[Applause]

I’m going to say a few words – excuse me – a few words in Spanish, before I bring up my colleagues.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that, I want to turn to the lead sponsor of this legislation, a champion for building mandates, a champion for fighting global warming, a champion for our environment, Councilmember Costa Constantinides.

[Applause]

[…]

Mayor: Before we go to questions, I want to show some appreciation for the organizations that have lead the fight for the New York City Green New Deal. Rachel will you join me – I want to first give a certificate – oh, wait, they’re in here? Okay. This is for you and on behalf of all of the folks at New York Communities for Change who have made such a difference, I want to present it to you in their name too because New York Communities for Change has been the lead on this effort, and you’ve been the lead on this effort, I want to thank you. God bless you. Thank you.

And everyone else, do me one favor before we take questions – to all the leaders, all the activists, please give your neighbor a round of applause.

[Applause]

Okay. To the news media, we have questions from the media on this first and then we’ll go to other topics. First on this, Anna?

Question: What will you say to someone who says that you’re holding a taxpayer funded campaign rally?

Mayor: This is about a bill that was passed by the City Council that is very clear and serious about the consequences for building owners who do not comply with the law. These buildings are a big part of the problem, and we’re making it very clear – it doesn’t matter who you are, even the President of the United States has to abide by the law of this city.

Question: You actually haven’t signed this bill yet. Do you know when you’ll sign it?

Mayor: This bill will become law, I guarantee you. Okay, Rich?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Well it’s so nice of them to serenade us here at Trump Tower, but clearly they’re uncomfortable about the truth. So, we’re saying the Trump Organization is part of the climate crisis because their buildings are polluting and President Trump is taking us away from the solutions we need for global warming so we come here to say it, in a public place, where people are allowed to assemble, exercise our freedom of speech, and this is how they respond. Clearly there is something they’re worried about.

Question: [Inaudible] are you going to attempt to shame other developers in New York? Are you going to hold rallies like this for other developers?

Mayor: We are going to be clear with anyone who’s not fixing their building, we’re going to let them know that they’re out of compliance, and it’s important for all the landlords to get the point. This is about our existence, this is about our survival. They have to fix this problem. If they don’t there are very serious, serious penalties.

Question: You said that Trump properties are among the worst polluters. What are – who are the worst polluters?

Mayor: [Inaudible]

We will get you examples later on today.

Question: Mr. Mayor, just picking up on Grace’s question though – are you going to have other rallies inside of other developers who are doing just as much—

Mayor: We’re going to make – as I said, we’re going to make very clear any landlords who are not complying, we’re going to name them out loud.

Question: But are you going to hold rallies?

Mayor: Yeah, we’re going to make clear who they are.

Question: Was there any difficulty in securing this location? Was there a fight over—

Mayor: You’ll have to ask the team – it’s a public place, and that’s the – as I understand the law governing this place: this is public space where people are allowed to express their views.

Question: Given the circus-like atmosphere in here, is this a good place to get your message out?

Mayor: Look, had the weather cooperated, we would have been outside – that was the original plan. But it’s a public place and you know what – in New York City, we’re perfectly tough, if people want to offer their opposition it doesn’t change me one bit. Doesn’t change anyone here. Rachel just walked in and heard all that, she didn’t blink, so anyone has a problem with saving the planet, I got a problem with them. Who hasn’t gone? Go ahead.

Question: Off-topic?

Mayor: We’re going to that in a second. Anything else about this?

Question: How did you get here today?

Mayor: How did I get here? [Inaudible] Yes.

Question: Just to confirm, are you going to release a list of every developer who might be fined in—

Mayor: We will release a list of the ones that are the most problematic buildings.

Question: In terms of signing the legislation, though, that Anna asked about, some people are saying you know, you’re holding all these rallies and promoting it for your presidential ambitions, but you haven’t actually made the bill law?

Mayor: No, this is – this is a piece of legislation that I announced, years ago, we would achieve exhaustive negotiations with the buildings community. We got a consensus with the City Council, we passed it. This has been years in the making. It will become law.

Question: Why wouldn’t you have this at the worst polluter, I mean it seems obvious that this is a political—

Mayor: Because this clearly sends a message to all the landlords in New York City, that no landlord is exempt from this bill, not even the president of the United States.

Question: [Inaudible] threat from political retaliation here, towards a public building in New York City or a privately held [inaudible] Couldn’t having this event here also send a message that this might be a political [inaudible] retaliation towards a privately held building in New York City?

Mayor: No, look, I’ve said many times that we understand Donald Trump’s approach. He always tries to be a bully, and what we know as New Yorkers, you just take on a bully – never back down in the face of a bully. So his buildings are a part of the problem, he’s got to fix his problem. He also is the biggest part of the problem in this country when it comes to climate change because he took us out of the Paris Agreement. We’re going to confront that, we’re not going to shirk from that.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: There’s two rounds: 2025 and 2030.

Question: Are you concerned that the protestors are going to overshadow what you came here to do today.

Mayor: Not at all. This is about the survival of our planet – this is about the survival of our children and grandchildren. They’re just music to my ears because it means we’re doing something important here in New York City. If all these people who support President Trump are opposing what we’re doing, we must be doing something right.

[Applause]

Question: Are you in touch with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about the federal version of this since you borrowed the name?

Mayor: Yeah, I support the federal bill, Congressmember Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey’s bill. I’ve been very supportive of it, she’s been supportive of the New York City Green New Deal. Anything else on this? Willie?

Question: The signs behind you say failed mayor and worst mayor ever. Why is that music to your ears?

Mayor: It’s music to my ears anytime that we’re doing something important in New York City that’s going to make this city cleaner, and greener, and people who want to keep us backwards oppose it. It means we’re doing something meaningful. When you get opposition from Donald Trump and Trump supporters, you’re doing something right. Donald Trump called the New York City Green New Deal crazy. That is the finest endorsement of the New York City Green New Deal I could possibly imagine.

Question: You’ve also talked about wanting to extend New York policies – you’ve also talked about wanting to extend New York policies around the country as you’ve talked about possibly running for president. Should we look at this in that context of you trying to—

Mayor: I’ve said repeatedly, whatever I decide, I’m going to spread all over this country the examples of what we’ve done here in New York. The Green New Deal, in New York City, and particularly the building mandate legislation, is the most advanced plan on Earth by any city, to address global warming. I expect cities all around the world, all around the country, are going to look at this plan and are going to adopt it. Just like we’ve seen cities all over America pick up on our Pre-K plan, or Vision Zero, or our affordable housing plan. We are showing that you can make real, progressive change on the ground here. And this legislation is groundbreaking, not just in terms of the United States of America, but in terms of the world. And that’s the shape of the future. Last call.

Question: How much will the city have to pay to make retrofit – I’m sorry.

Mayor: Project.

Question: How much will the city have to pay to make retrofits or upgrades on its own buildings?

Mayor: The City’s plan is $3 billion and in the recent executive budget we added $60 million more because of the mandates in the legislation that also required us to go farther on our own public buildings.

Question: Over how many years?

Mayor: It’s a 10-year – the whole city plan is 10 – it started several years ago but the total timeline is 10 years, $3 billion.

Question: And when did it start?

Mayor: What year did we – announced September 2014, so it went into effect really starting in 2015.
Thanks, still on this?  Last call on this? Okay, other topics.

Question: I’m sure you’ve seen the viral video of all the garbage on the 2 train – I’m sure you’ve seen the viral video of all the garbage on the 2 train in the Bronx. How does that happen? New Yorkers should not have to get on the subway and see homeless people [inaudible] trash.

Mayor: Right, so two things. I’ll remind people as I do always, the MTA is run by the State of New York, that’s been made clearer by recent actions in Albany, and that’s a good thing because responsibility has to reside somewhere. So that’s an unacceptable situation. We will work with the MTA in every way we can to help them address that and you’re going to see more police presence in the subways, you’re going to see more outreach workers dealing with the homeless in the subways, but when it comes to the basic cleanliness of the subways, that’s an MTA responsibility. And the MTA has to step up, they now have plenty of money, they have been given lots of money because of the plan on congestion pricing but they had money before. They got to use it better.

Question: The MTA [inaudible].

Mayor: Again, on questions of the cleanliness of the subway, that’s not the NYPD, obviously, that’s the MTA. On questions of addressing homelessness, we work with the MTA, we have outreach workers from homeless services, NYPD specially trained patrols, both of them are going to be stepping up because we really want to address this problem once and for all. Our shelter population is starting to go down. We’ve had a lot success getting people off the street who are homeless. We now need to focus more on the subways.

Question: Can you respond – can you respond to the Daily News story today about how [inaudible] SUV was involved in a wrong way crash – you’re SUV was involved in a wrong way crash?

Mayor: So a couple of things. The NYPD has done an investigation and that investigation needs to – as with any investigation – be followed through on. They have to determine how things were handled. The big picture reality, this would be true of any situation is no public employee is above the law, everyone has to follow the law, when it’s an NYPD situation sometimes there is a specific security reality or some other reason why they do something exceptional, but they have to come to that determination. I don’t have memory of the details of that incident, but I can say that no one is above the law, but the NYPD has to determine what happened in that case.

Question: Just a follow up – you’re saying that there still investigating?

Mayor: No I’m saying they have to let you know if they think things were handled appropriately or not.

Question: And you don’t remember [inaudible]?

Mayor: I don’t remember that at all. No. When I’m in the car, I’m usually on the phone, reading emails, reading papers, I don’t remember the specifics. I remember a very minor incident.

Question: With the Democratic Party becoming increasingly diversified with women, minorities, people of color taking control, you’re considering a presidential run, nearly two dozen people are running, a lot of them straight white male – fitting – also you’re profile. Why run for president? Why consider it given the profile of the party?

Mayor: I don’t think it makes sense to speak to that until I come to a decision. I’ve been talking to my family, we will make a final decision this week and we’ll announce it this week. But until I’ve come to that decision, I don’t think it makes sense to speak to that. I would say a broad thing about leadership, what matters with leadership – and I lead the most diverse place on earth – is a leader who can understand working people, every day people, and respond to their needs. It doesn’t matter what their demographic background is.

Question: [Inaudible] candidates doing the same thing though right now. There’s almost two dozen candidates, there are many who [inaudible] the same thing –

Mayor: Again, it’s just not time to speak to that.

Question: Mr. Mayor, do you think it’s important unflappable in a situation like this?

Mayor: Well you know, they have said over the decades - you’ll remember Rich - that Mayor of New York City is the second toughest job in America. It’s definitely a tough job any way you slice it, and one of the things you have to be when you’re Mayor is unflappable, can’t let anything bother you because you have to make tough decisions all the time. So as I say, this is music to my ears, they can go on all they want, and we’re going to keep spreading our message.

Question: Can you respond to the story [inaudible] e-bike [inaudible] –

Mayor: This about Citi Bike, e-bikes, I need to get an answer on that. I don’t have the timeline for that.

Question: I mean just in general, don’t you think it’s time for the State to subsidize that form of transportation?

Mayor: I believe that the way we’ve handled Citi Bike is the right way – I think we’ve handled Citi Bike the right way, we have not been providing tax payer money, but it has been expanding steadily. And look there’s been a blip recently, obviously, but overall it’s been a huge success but we’ll come back to you on that timeline.  Go ahead.

Question: [Inaudible] the Daily News that your SUV was going the wrong way? Also you said repeatedly that e-bikes are dangerous because they drive the wrong way on streets [inaudible] is there some way you can make them safer? That you could legalize them because there -

Mayor: I think the discussion on e-bikes in Albany provides a chance to figure out ground rules that would work. One of the things I think could be a grounds for compromise is physically limiting the speed of e-bikes and making them similar to the peddle-assist bikes. So having a speed that they can’t physically go beyond, that might be part of solving the problem.

Question: You talked about this on Brian Lehrer on Friday, [inaudible] City Councilmen have criticized your decision to add those seven crimes to the ones that you cooperate with on ICE. Does this question your commitment to New York being a sanctuary city?

Mayor: New York is a city that is welcoming and respectful of immigrants and always has been. Those seven offences I believe fundamentally needed to be added. Look at how seriously they are, they fit exactly the type of offenses that in the original 170. They were passed by the State of New York later. It’s absolutely right to include them. I don’t have any concern about that.

Question: [Inaudible] anything you want to say as the Pantaleo trial gets underway? [Inaudible].

Mayor: Look it’s been a very, very painful reality from day one. And I know the Garner family and my heart goes out to them. I still don’t understand why the Justice Department even – Melissa – to this day the Justice Department has never come to a decision. I don’t understand that. But the NYPD is moving forward and the issue will be resolved this year.

Question: [Inaudible] Last week you called the Conflict of Interest Board the golden standard,  [inaudible].

Mayor: Again, I have great respect for the Conflict of Interest Board, I always have. I do believe they are the gold standard, that’s all I have to say.

Question: Did they handle your case appropriately?

Mayor: Again, I think they are the – I think they do their job well. Go ahead.

Question: Why is City Hall looking for a new Parks Commissioner if the new one has no plans to leave?

Mayor: Again guys, we make decisions on personnel and we announce them. We have not made any decision nor announced any decision about that, so you just can’t take everything you see out there. When it’s time to say something on personnel, we say it.

Question: [Inaudible] When you’re in your vehicle and your security detail drives on the wrong side of the street, have you ever thought to ask them not to do that?

Mayor: I don’t really remember times when they did that. So if it’s happened from time to time because of a specific security situation, that’s up to them. I trust the NYPD to make the right decisions, but I have not witnessed or been aware of something like that. Anything else on this side, going once, okay, Willy?

Question: Does all of this make it more or less likely you want to run for president?

Mayor: It’s another day in New York City, Willy. This is – I’m not surprised by this at all. Doesn’t bother me one bit, we are here to talk about the New York City Green New Deal, we don’t care if people want to hold us back. We’re going to fight for the New York City Green New Deal.

Thank you, everybody.

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