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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that only one group in New York City will be allowed to exercise its First Amendment rights over the summer.
The Democrat told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that, although all large events in the city are canceled through September, Black Lives Matter protesters can keep marching and demonstrating because they are too important to restrict.
De Blasio claimed to be “focusing on health” in New York City during his interview on Thursday, banning fairs, parades and concerts over concerns about large gatherings of people amid the threat of the coronavirus. But social justice protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement apparently don’t pose any threat, according to the mayor who earlier that day joined activists to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street in front of Trump Tower.
“This is obviously the thing President Trump doesn’t understand,” the mayor told Blitzer, not missing a chance to bash the president. “We don’t just decree we want things to happen regardless of the human impact. We look at the science, we look at the data. The data is telling us, it is not time for large gatherings.”
Speaking out of both sides of his mouth, de Blasio declared that it’s “just not time” for gatherings that “can mean not just thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people,” but protests represent “an area of sensitivity.”
“We understand at this moment in history, people are talking about the need for historic changes. Today in New York City, recognizing the power and the meaning of the message of Black Lives Matter, which we did in front of Trump Tower today, this is a historic moment of change,” he said. “We have to respect that but also say to people the kinds of gatherings we’re used to, the parades, the fairs, we just can’t have that while we’re focusing on health right now.”
While BLM protests have been given the green light, traditional events in the city such as the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy, the Dominican Day Parade and the West Indian American Day Carnival in Brooklyn have been shut down.
Blitzer did not push back at all or question the double standard, instead choosing to ask the mayor about U.S. Open.
“I love going to the U.S. Open, I love tennis. What’s happening with that?” he asked.
“Wolf, look, this is one of a number of events where there’s going to be sports activities that we all love but without the audience. People will be able to watch on TV and we’ll keep the tradition going, but the same with the Yankees, the Mets, we’re not going to have crowds in the stands,” he said as he went on to boast about the response to COVID-19 in the city which was, for a time, the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
De Blasio spoke to Blitzer about the “important message” that was painted on Fifth Avenue earlier on Thursday, claiming the president was being racist for denouncing the political stunt.
“We need to take this transcendent moment and get the most out of it. But the President, rather than having a chance to acknowledge America’s original sin, he literally made it worse by suggesting that honoring black people on Fifth Avenue would somehow make it less valuable or luxurious,” de Blasio said.
“I’ve got to tell you, people are outraged by that. But more importantly, they are speaking out, and folks today felt jubilant and triumphant. We were not denigrating Fifth Avenue, we were liberating Fifth Avenue by putting those crucial words right there in front of President Trump’s building,” the Democrat added.
The president told reporters Thursday that there is an exodus of people who are leaving New York City which has “turned out to be a hellhole.”
Last month, de Blasio proposed a $1 billion cut to the budget of the New York City Police Department following violent protests and looting as activists demanded police reform and the defunding of law enforcement. The tensions between the city’s leadership and police officers have led to an eye-popping surge of NYPD retirements in just the last week.
New York City businesses have been reeling under the devastating economic effects of months-long lockdowns and violence in the city has soared with the onset of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. More than two dozen Catholic schools in the area will not be reopening again, the Archdiocese of New York and Diocese of Brooklyn announced Thursday.
Meanwhile, de Blasio played Nero and joined his wife, Chirlane McCray, as well as Al Sharpton, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Rep. Carolyn Maloney to thumb his nose at the president by painting the street, blatantly ignoring his own social distancing decrees. He later addressed the crowd, speaking without his mask on.
Rep. Lee Zeldin, who told Fox News this week that de Blasio “has to be removed” from office, slammed the “fascinatingly ineffective, first of its kind strategy” on Twitter.
Fascinatingly ineffective, first of its kind strategy in progress by Mayor DeBlasio: At the same time, he is both asking the President for a $7.4 BILLION bailout while also trolling the President by painting this mural in front of Trump Tower in NYC.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) July 9, 2020
“At the same time, he is both asking the President for a $7.4 BILLION bailout while also trolling the President by painting this mural in front of Trump Tower in NYC,” the New York Republican tweeted.
Plenty of others also slammed the Democrat mayor for the politically motivated stunt.
Have you ever seen a more useless politician than Bill de Blasio?
This is just pathetic. pic.twitter.com/3hiTW2aCn7
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 9, 2020
There’s a crime wave going on in New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio is wasting his time trolling the President by painting graffiti in front of Trump Tower. Pathetic.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) July 9, 2020
Love how the mayor completely ignores social distancing guidelines
— ELIJAH (@ElijahSchaffer) July 9, 2020
Now that 5th Ave is a billboard which can be used without a permit, we ought to plaster the Red MAGA 2020 right over that yellow stain on the pavement.
— Yasmin (@mine65613426) July 10, 2020
Who paid for this? And can this prevent shootings everyday in NY?
— jennifer Canaanites, (@yvrjennifer) July 10, 2020
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