Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking Donald Trump’s presidential run seriously, but he has some harsh words for the developer-turned-Republican front-runner. Trump “is literally trying to undermine fundamental constitutional rights,” de Blasio said Wednesday morning on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. He was referring to Donald Trump’s plan to deport undocumented immigrants en-masse.
“I don’t think American voters want someone who says these kinds of discriminatory things,” he said, although he also argued that Trump is raising some important points and that he doesn’t expect his run to the top of the polls to end anytime soon. “When you take conservatives lightly, you end up getting burned a lot of the time,” he said.
Electoral politics aside, much of the 45-minute interview revolved around housing policy. In another apparent jab at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, de Blasio complained about a lack of help from the state for his efforts to create affordable housing.
“We don’t have the kind of partnership we’d like from the state and federal level,” de Blasio said. He added that the federal government in particular has been “absent.”
Asked if his housing program is doing enough to stem gentrification and keep neighborhoods affordable, de Blasio effectively argued that a certain degree of gentrification can be good for neighborhoods by improving services.
“There will still be some overall impact on surrounding neighborhood (by new residential construction), but let me remind you a lot of neighborhoods even to this day are struggling,” he said.
“Some New Yorkers argue we have some poor neighborhoods and they should just stay poor,” he added, cautioning that he is exaggerating. “I think that’s unacceptable.”
De Blasio also defended the Rent Guidelines Board’s recent decision to freeze rents on stabilized units in the city. The board, he said, ” looked at the facts objectively. A lot of landlords’ costs had gone down, and it was time to reflect that.”
Finally, the mayor commented on the widespread suspicion that famed comedian Louis C.K. called into the Brian Lehrer show a day earlier to defend the mayor. “I think the world of Louie,” he said. “I don’t know if it was him, but it does sound like his worldview there.”