NY Mayor de Blasio joins 2020 race to take on ’Con Don’ Trump

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In this photo provided by ABC, George Stephanopoulos, left, interviews New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray on "Good Morning America," on May 16, 2019, in New York. (Paula Lobo/ABC via AP)
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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray arrive for the official dedication ceremony of the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island Thursday, May 16, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Updated 17 May 2019

NY Mayor de Blasio joins 2020 race to take on ’Con Don’ Trump

  • President Trump responded by dismissing De Blasio as a "JOKE" and  “the worst mayor in the US” 
  • De Blasio is the 23rd prospective Democratic challenger to Trump

 

 

NEW YORK: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio jumped into the crowded White House race Thursday, defying hostile media and dismal polling numbers to cast himself as the Democrats’ best chance of unseating “con artist” Donald Trump in 2020.
The 23rd prospective Democratic challenger to Trump, de Blasio kicked off with a frontal attack on the Republican president, dubbing him “Con Don” for claiming he is on the side of working Americans.
“Donald Trump must be stopped,” he declared in a video announcing his candidacy. “I know how to take him on.”
De Blasio doubled down at a press conference. “He’s a con man, and we New Yorkers know a con man when we see one,” he said, adding: “we’re going to go right at him.”
The campaign “is about putting working people first,” the mayor said, highlighting his record in America’s most populous and diverse city.
Trump responded to the announcement by tweeting a video apparently shot on Air Force One in which he said a De Blasio win would “never happen.”
“I wish him luck, but really it would be better off if you got back to New York City and did your job for the little time you have left.”
Trump, who is visiting his hometown New York for the first time in months, had earlier in the day skewered De Blasio as “the worst mayor in the US.”
“He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!” he wrote on Twitter.
De Blasio had been exploring a possible run for months, traveling to early voting states Iowa and South Carolina, both of which he said he would return to in the near future.
His campaign has so far been met with widespread derision, with polls giving former vice president Joe Biden a commanding lead among Democratic contenders, followed by liberal Senator Bernie Sanders.
Democratic polling for de Blasio has been particularly humbling at home.
An eye-popping 76 percent of New York City voters said de Blasio should not enter the 2020 race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll last month.
Local papers have taunted him for a lack of charisma and Thursday’s front page of the New York Post tabloid was particularly scathing: a photo montage of people laughing hysterically above the headline “De Blasio runs for president.”
De Blasio himself touts a string of accomplishments as mayor: he has introduced free universal pre-kindergarten and paid sick leave, and early this year he rolled out a plan to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers.
“What I bring is absolute total focus on putting people first. I have done it here,” said the 58-year-old, who was first elected in 2013 and was comfortably re-elected two years ago.
Yet despite the truism that the job of New York mayor is the second toughest in America after that of president, de Blasio — sometimes nicknamed “Big Bird” for his lanky, 6-foot, 5-inch (1.97-meter) frame — is one of the few people openly confident of his presidential chances.
Asked about the numbers during an ABC television interview early Thursday, de Blasio replied: “I think you’ll agree that the poll that actually matters is the election.”
Several protesters gathered outside the studio during that interview, and New York’s Police Benevolent Association released a scathing statement about de Blasio.
“It is laughable that a mayor who has shown no interest in running New York City for six years now says he wants to mismanage the entire country,” association president Patrick Lynch said.
De Blasio succeeded billionaire Michael Bloomberg on the promise of reducing the city’s glaring inequalities.
Since Trump came to power, de Blasio has denounced the president’s hardening of immigration policy and his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
“We must deal with global warming now,” de Blasio told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” pledging support for the Green New Deal, a proposal offered by progressive Democrats that would dramatically shift the United States away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy.
De Blasio is married to Chirlane McCray, an African-American woman who for decades identified as a lesbian.
He remains popular in the black community, but Hispanics are divided and whites mostly view him unfavorably.
Several current and former aides have spoken out in unusually harsh terms about his White House bid.
But the mayor, who likes to cast himself as a perpetual underdog, appears to have brushed off the criticism, confiding recently that the only advice that matters is his wife’s.


Protester flees Russia as two others tie the knot in jail

Updated 9 min 23 sec ago

Protester flees Russia as two others tie the knot in jail

  • The protester faces up to five years in prison for throwing a plastic bottle at police
  • Gubaidulin fled the country this week after realizing he could soon be given a lengthy jail term amid an unrelenting crackdown on the opposition

MOSCOW: A protester has fled Russia fearing imprisonment, his lawyer said Thursday, as a jailed demonstrator married a young woman accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
Aidar Gubaidulin, a 26-year-old programmer who faces up to five years in prison for throwing a plastic bottle at police, was among more than a dozen people who were arrested following anti-government protests demanding fair elections this summer.
Gubaidulin fled the country this week after realizing he could soon be given a lengthy jail term amid an unrelenting crackdown on the opposition, his lawyer Maxim Pashkov told AFP.
“This decision did not come easily to me but the events of the last few days left me no choice,” Gubaidulin said on Facebook.
“I’ve left the country and will not return anytime soon.”
Gubaidulin, who tossed an empty plastic bottle toward police at a July rally but did not hit anyone, was arrested and charged with mass unrest.
He was later released from pre-trial detention and eventually charged with threatening to use violence against police.
Pashkov said Gubaidulin decided to leave Russia after a court this week upheld the conviction of fellow protester Konstantin Kotov, who had been jailed for four years over peaceful protests.
“This affected him very much,” Pashkov said.
Meanwhile in a bittersweet development, Kotov, 34, married a 19-year-old suspected extremist, Anna Pavlikova, at Moscow’s infamous Matrosskaya Tishina jail, said Kotov’s friend and fellow activist Alexei Minyailo.
Along with several other people Pavlikova, then aged 17, was arrested last year and charged with creating an extremist organization and seeking to overthrow President Vladimir Putin’s government.
Her health deteriorated in jail and she was later placed under house arrest.
“Justice failed them, Kostya will soon be sent to a penal colony but love will triumph anyway,” Minyailo, who attended the wedding, told AFP, using a diminutive to refer to his friend.
Minyailo himself spent two months in pre-trial detention after the protests but was released after a solidarity campaign.
Overall six people including Kotov received jail terms of between two and five years over the opposition protests over elections in Moscow which were seen as unfair.
Under pressure from supporters the authorities made a few concessions, including releasing from prison actor Pavel Ustinov after he was jailed for three-and-a-half years and giving him a suspended sentence instead.
But as the wave of protests for the most part died down, the authorities once again began to tighten the screws.
This week, investigators announced five more detentions of protesters.
The latest arrests brought the number of people awaiting trial in jail to seven.
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Moscow this summer after authorities refused to allow allies of opposition leader Alexei Navalny to stand for city parliament in September elections.
Scores of Kremlin critics have fled Russia in recent years amid an increasing crackdown on dissent.