Secondary Navigation

Transcript: Mayor Adams Calls in for Live Interview on GMGT Live's "The Reset Talk Show"

March 22, 2024

JR Giddings: Welcome back. This is the Reset Talk Show. Audience, tell a friend to tell a friend. We have New York City… Democratic New York City Mayor Adams here with us this morning. Good morning and welcome in, Mayor Adams. How are you?

Mayor Eric Adams: Hey, Brother, how are you? Good to be on with you, and look forward to a nice conversation. One of my favorite times of the month is being on Reset. It allows me to reset for the week.

Giddings: I love it, Mayor Adams. It's always a pleasure to have you. And you know, as always, you are a big part of the Reset.

So, let's begin with the conversation about the accusation of this assault that a colleague is bringing against you, this accusation. What would you like our audience to know about that?

Mayor Adams: Well, first, I think they do know a lot. You know, I'm 64 years old, and I lived a very public life for almost 35 if not 40 years. And I've lived it with a certain level of dignity and a certain level of respect.

And I have been an advocate to dismantle all of the issues that women have faced, and I've not only protected New Yorkers in general but specifically women. And when you do an analysis over my life you'll see what my character is and what I stand for and what my work has been about.

This incident did not happen. I don't recall ever meeting the accuser. And now the corp counsel will move forward. And I have to be focused on running this city; as you see, there's so many things that happen in the city.

And I remember my conversation with former Mayor David Dinkins and other mayors, they state the most important quality you can have as a mayor [inaudible] and not all of the attempted distractions that are going to come up.

But I want to assure New Yorkers and those who have watched me over the years and my work around women's rights and women's agenda from my five deputy mayors who happen to be women, the first time in history, to appointing a woman police commissioner, to how I've carried myself over these last 64 years of life, and as I stated over 30 years I've been in public view.

I am probably, when you look at who's on the political stage right now, JR, I have probably been on the political stage as long as any other elected official in the city. I have been doing this for a long time, and I've been scrutinized often, and I've always been able to maintain a level of dignity and respect on how I carry myself and what I do.

And you know, this is the moment many people called me and reached out and stated, Eric, we know you, and we know how you carry yourself and what you stand for. So, it's unfortunate, it's painful for my family to have to go through this, but they've watched my political career and my public life back in my days of a police officer serving and protecting people.

They've watched, and they have stated that, you know, we know from time to time these things happen in many different levels. But they are up for the challenges that we're facing. There are more challenges of just dealing with the uncertainties of running the city of this capacity in the future.

And we're going to continue to stay focused with returning the city to the greatness that it deserves. And we're excited about doing that.

Giddings: Well, thank you for that, Mayor Adams. It's good that you could speak directly to the people, because you know, when any rumor goes out there and anything goes out there, it's just magnified. So, it was important for us to address it so we could continue to support you the way we do.

So, Mayor Adams, let's talk about the recent violence in the subways. We know that crime is down, but we just had an incident last Thursday whereas two people who got into an altercation, and obviously there was, one person pulled out a gun and ended up being shot with the gun.

But the point is this morning, a lot of New Yorkers are asking why we don't have more National Guardsmen in New York City in downtown Brooklyn and the high crime areas in Harlem. So, how would you respond to that? What would you say to them?

Mayor Adams: You know, I say that in New York, we have 8.2, 8.3 million people and there are 35 million different opinions. You know, if you were to place a National Guardsman on Utica Avenue, it would shock you how many people would be outraged and would be calling the Reset and calling my office and saying, we don't need a military look in our city and in our communities, and so you have to find the right balance of public protection.

And I said this in early January, 2022, I don't know if you recall, when we were dealing with, you know, high levels of violence in the city. I stated that it is imperative that people not only are safe but you have to feel safe. That's the balance. And I was attacked for that. Many people criticized me saying I'm not in touch with reality because I was saying we were moving in the right direction to be safe.

Let's put this in proper perspective. We have over four million riders on our subway system a day, over 4 million riders. We have around five to six felonies that happen on our system every day among those 4 million riders. Think about that number for a moment.

And so when people say your subway system is not safe, that is just not true. The system is safe. Yes, we want to get rid of the five to six felonies a day. We don't want any crimes in our subway system.

But when you have random acts of violence that is focused on repeatedly for many different methods — social media, showing videos over and over again — it plays on how people feel in the subway system. So, our success of enforcement, our success of quality of life issue enforcement, all of this success must translate into how people are feeling.

And it's not much we can do about the way someone repeatedly shows a shooting on the subway system, a random act of violence. That is going to be what it is. That's the society we live in right now where everything is immediately posted and reposted.

But when you look at what these police officers are doing every day in the subway system, it is an unbelievable job of managing 4 million riders. A woman spoke with me the other day and she was saying, this place is out of control, it's so unsafe. You have, must have, we have about three to four hundred crimes a day down here.

And I said, ma'am, how long have you been riding the subway system? She says, for 30 years back and forth to work. I said, have you ever been a victim of a crime? She said, no, I have not. I said, you have been using the system over and over again. She said, but when I'm seeing, you know, being posted all the times is just showing a total disorder.

That's what's happening here JR. Our system is safe. When you do an analysis, as I posted in my open press conference, off topic press conference, we showed the bar graph of per 100,000 people being a victim of murder in cities. New York was the lowest of the major cities.

This is the safest big city in America. Homicides down, shootings are down, major crime categories are down. You're seeing a police department that's working hard and that pushing back against some of the impediments we're having, impediments like recidivists.

How do we have 38 people who assaulted transit workers who were arrested over 1,100 times in our city? I mean, this is unbelievable. Or, close to 570 people roughly who were arrested for shoplifting over 7,000 times. So, no matter how good the police officers are doing, there are other branches of the criminal justice system that they have a role, prosecutors, judges, lawmakers. We can't just say, well, hey, police, what are you doing, because we're doing our job. Everyone must be part of the public safety apparatus.

But in spite of those obstacles, this is the safest big city in America, and my goal is make people have that safety in the stats, and I know we want to make people feel safe. That's why we put 1,000 cops in the subway system to give that visual presence. And hats off to the governor for the National Guard and what she's doing with the state troopers in those areas where we think they're needed, like Penn Station, Grand Central Station, high volume areas where the National Guard and state troopers can blend in without feeling a level of disruption.

Giddings: Thank you for that, Mayor Adams. Let's switch quickly to this announcement where you increased wages for an estimated 800,000 human service workers employed by nonprofit organizations with a city contract as a part of a new cost of living adjustment. This was a $741 million investment. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Mayor Adams: It was a promise, a promise I made on the campaign trail. You know, we're going to give everyone a list of promises made and how many promises we kept, because we kept so many, from decreasing the cost of childcare to raising the Earned Income Tax Credit, wasn't raised in, you know, 20‑something years, to what we did about dyslexia screening, and how we're making our city safe.

You know, oftentimes people run for office and they make promises and they don't live up to them. I wanted my promises to be in a list so I can go down that list and check off the list of my promises. And this was one of the promises. I met with, you know, those employees who are part of the service providers in our city and they sat down with me and shared with me how their wages are not keeping up.

You can't be a human service worker, and then when you get off work, you have to get the same services that you're providing to people. That is just wrong. And this is a population that's overwhelmingly people of color, overwhelmingly, substantially, almost half are women. And they were struggling for generations.

And then they had a blue collar mayor that gave them a commitment, when I get elected, we're going to change that game. We infused $77 million into their pay. They have secured over $1.6 billion into making sure that they get the funding that they need.

And they were extremely pleased. It was extremely touching to hear that they can now provide for their families. This is so important. These are the folks who worked hard during Covid. They were there delivering food to people who were locked in, childcare, all of those things.

And you know, remember, my mother was a food service provider in a daycare center for years, and I knew how hard she struggled. So, when we pushed this forward, I pushed it not only from a professional level but from a personal level. And this is, this is one for all those human service workers that are working in our city. Over 800,000 are doing better because of this announcement that we made.

Giddings: Thank you, Mayor Adams. Nurse Patricia, the mayor has a hard out this morning. It's Women's History Month, so we're giving the women a chance to say good morning to you, Mayor Adams.

Nurse Patricia, one question, one minute, and then Dr. Giddings.

Patricia Riley: Well, good morning, Mayor Adams.

Mayor Adams: Good morning.

Riley: It's always wonderful to have you here on the Reset with us. And we were graced with First Deputy Commissioner Kinsella's presence last week. She was singing your praises, one of your very own appointments, so it was wonderful having her.

I'm sure you heard about the student that attended a university in Georgia who was brutally murdered by a Venezuelan immigrant, and her father took to the air pleading with legislators to act on immigration and to basically put laws in place that would prohibit immigrants from entering our country. Now I know in light of New York City having an influx of asylum seekers, I'm just curious to know what your thoughts are on his ask.

Mayor Adams: That is such a great question. And you know, we have to create a glossary of terms in the area of immigration, because many people say things without really understanding the meaning of them, and I hear it all the time when I'm walking the streets.

Like, people don't know what right to shelter is and the connection of immigration and homelessness. They don't know they don't know what the sanctuary cities mean. They think that any person who has been paroled to this country is automatically in these sanctuary cities. They don't know what asylum seekers are.

And so we have to really educate the public on these terminologies, and so that we can better understand what we're calling for. And so to specifically address what this unfortunate incident, I mean, it breaks the heart. I have only one son. It would break my heart to lose him in a senseless violence.

No matter if the person is of a undocumented, documented paroled into the city, I don't think any parents ask the question "well, is the person undocumented or documented" when they lose a loved one.

We cannot and we should not stop the rights of immigrants coming to the city. This is a city and a country where there's a rich history of immigrants coming to the city, finding their way and contributing to the city, and to stop that is really would take away our really hallmark of what makes us great as a country.

What we must do is those small numbers — and I want to emphasize that, those small number — who are violent, who are committing crimes in our city, I strongly believe we need to have a pathway of deportation after they serve their time. They should not be placed back in our communities to further violence. And it's such a small number, but it's a significant impact.

So, I understand the pain that this parent is feeling. I do not support stopping immigrants from coming to our city. I do not support removing people when they're just trying to find their way. I support removing those who are violent and carrying out violent acts.

But remember the migrants and asylum seekers are not undocumented, they're paroled into the city, into the country. And I think that our security at the border is important and we must do proper vetting to make sure that people are not here with criminal intent in play.

But I am not a supporter of banning all immigrants from coming to our city. That would take... In our country, that would take away from who we are as a country.

Giddings: As we celebrate strong women, Dr. Giddings, you have to be quick. The mayor is on his way to another appointment. Welcome in, Dr. Giddings. Meet Mayor Adams.

Dr. Shelley Anne Giddings: Good morning, Mayor Adams. Nice to see you again.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Dr. Giddings: I'm great, I'm great.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Dr. Giddings: I just want to say, I live in Texas now for the last 30 years, but I went to Hunter College and rode the subways every day; and every time I come back to New York, I ride the subways. So. there you have it. And my daughter, who, you know, she lives in Texas, she travels to the city a lot for work. She rides the subway, so there you have it now.

My question along… And oh, by the way, thank you for, you know, allowing us to meet all those deputy mayors this year, your chief of staff, your chief advisor. It was wonderful to see all those strong women, and you are going ahead and fulfilling those promises. I love the whole dyslexia, childcare problem, you know, programs. They're all great.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Dr. Giddings: As far as the migrant situation goes, I was just wondering if you're getting any federal aid where that is from the government? And what about work permits for them, how is that going?

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you. And as you're down there and you see the governor, tell him, you know, stop sending folks up on those buses. You know, make sure you tell them that. You know, but...

Dr. Giddings: Well, then you know we have another issue going on with them trying to, you know, arrest people at the border now. There's that law going through...

Mayor Adams: Yes that's correct.

Dr. Giddings: ...the appeals court. So, it's a lot going on over here.

Mayor Adams: Yes, yes. So, we spent over $4 billion thus far. The federal government has only allocated a little over $100 million, about $105, $106 million. And we had to jump through unbelievable hoops to get the dollar amount that is associated with it. Like for instance, they only wanted to give us roughly about $13 per hotel room reimbursement. Can you imagine that? You cannot get a doorknob for $13 in the city in a hotel room.

And we were able to get them to understand there was certain waivers we needed to get the money of that $100 million out of the $4 billion that we have spent. So, we don't want to sugarcoat the issue and act like the $100 million they gave us, they should be patting themselves on the back. We appreciate the dollar amount because we need every dollar we can get, but that is nowhere near what they should be providing.

What's important here, as you indicated, the game changer is allowing people to work, and the irony of it is that we have so many jobs that are open, everything from lifeguards to food service workers to nurses to all these other groups. When you look at our nurse population, it's overwhelmingly immigrants that have come to this country and found their way in our hospitals, in our medical care, even in the area of owning restaurants and food service workers, backstretch workers, farm workers.

There's so many places that we need workers and we have this willing and able body of people that because of federal laws are unable to work. It is really, just doesn't make, it does not make any sense.

And so we were able to get authorization for about 35,000 that we have registered and we have aligned to work. It is important for us to allow everyone that's here to get that authorization to un bottleneck the system.

I'm headed to the border to the border on Saturday night because I'm meeting with national immigrant leaders who all applaud what we have done and they [inaudible] stated that no one in the country, New York City is doing and they want to applaud what we're doing and rally around us and have other municipalities come and see what we're doing to duplicate what we're doing.

So, hats off to New York, over 180,000 people, we have been really managing this crisis in a real respectable way. Not only government, our churches have stepped up, our non‑profits have stepped up. Everyday volunteers have stepped up. We have school districts and areas where people have come and said, we want to be helpful to the children that are here, over 30,000 that we cycled in our system.

So, this is a real… History is going to be kind in New York City on how we stood up in a humanitarian crisis and did what was right for fellow human beings. We are who we say we are, the greatest city on the globe.

Giddings: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. The one thing that I'm going to say, Mr. Mayor, is leaders lead. And continue to lead, we support you.

So, as you leave this morning, we are celebrating Women's History Month. You know, a lot of the panelists that are here are women, professional women, medical consultants, all women from all walks of life. So, I would just like you to give a nice shout out to them as you leave.

Mayor Adams: Yes. I think not only do I shout out, I stand out. As borough president, I paid women 14 percent higher than any other city agency, when I was borough president. My administration is full of very powerful, strong leaders and with a real women agenda, our Women Forward agenda.

This is something that's important to me. It was a seed that was planted in me by my mom and my two sisters. And I'm continuing to live up to the expectations, and I'm excited about it. And when this administration is finished, people are going to look back on it and see that women made major strides under this administration.

We not only have a hammer to shatter the glass ceiling, we are making sure that glass ceiling never exists again in this city. Thank you. Good to see you all. Happy Women's History Month.

Giddings: See you on Tuesday.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.