Secondary Navigation

Transcript: Mayor Eric Adams Appears Live on MSNBC’S "Morning Joe"

May 18, 2023

Mika Brzezinski: Jonathan Lemire, Mike Barnicle and Katty Kay are still with us. And Joe, you and Willie have two special guests in New York. Who are they?

Joe Scarborough: They're so special. We've had Democratic governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, and Democratic mayor of New York City, Eric Adams. I just got to ask you first of all, Mr. Mayor, looks like it's pretty chaotic last night.

Mayor Eric Adams: Oh boy.

Brzezinski: Now now, Joe.

Scarborough: Yeah. Taxi cab driver was driving former royals with, according to the taxi driver, the royals...

Brzezinski: Joe.

Scarborough: I mean Mika, the cab driver said they were a safe distance apart, there was never... Did anybody get arrested for this chaotic two hour chase through New York City that looked like the beginning of those Dick Tracy cartoons with cars going in and out of the place?

Brzezinski: Oh my God.

Mayor Adams: No, no. No arrests. And we're looking at it. I spoke with the police commissioner yesterday.

Scarborough: Any police commissioners say that it was almost tragic or that it was almost this, or almost that?

Mayor Adams: We are taking a close examination of the whole incident.

Scarborough: Oh, you're... You don't want to say. The initial take from the police officers, did any of them tell you or your people, oh boy, this was really dangerous, it was almost catastrophic?

Mayor Adams: I did not ever feel this level of cross-examination since I made an arrest as a cop.

Scarborough: Yeah, but exactly. But you probably know that the cross-examination continued. So did any police officers or any public officials say that this was an almost catastrophic scene?

Mayor Adams: Y'all know, I'm still looking into the process of what happened.

Brzezinski: You're not going to go.

Scarborough: I don't think he's going to ask.

Willie Geist: Checking the cameras. Checking the cameras.

Scarborough: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Willie, you know, these guys together, they're trying to do something that I desperately want and that is bring a World Cup match to the tri-state area.

Geist: So let's set this up.

Brzezinski: I like it.

Geist: In less than one hour here in New York City, the official brand and logo of New York, New Jersey as a host city for the 2026 World Cup will be unveiled. That ceremony will be held in Times Square just around nine o'clock, and in just a couple of years, the 2026 World Cup will become the largest sporting event ever, spanning North America, held in three different countries, 16 cities will host matches, 48 teams will compete to reach the final. That final could be held here as New York and New Jersey's venue reportedly is being considered, and how cool that would be.

Could be in your state, Governor Murphy. Could be out at MetLife Stadium as I understand it, perhaps, where the Jets and Giants play. There are a couple of other cities reported to be in contention for this final, which would just be amazing to have it here in New York City. What's your case to make it in Jersey?

Governor Phil Murphy: Okay. So first of all, America is the world stage and New York City is center stage of the world stage. We've got an extraordinary stadium. The region has huge passion for the sport. We hosted games in ‘94, we hosted Women World Cup games in ‘99, each very successfully.

Frankly, and Eric and I were talking about this yesterday, no matter what package of games we get, and I think we'll know in the fall, we'll probably get a minimum of eight games. So that's eight Super Bowls in six weeks with huge impact economically, passion for the sport in New York and New Jersey. It's going to be incredible. And we're pitching like heck to get the final, but either way, it's going to be great.

Geist: Mr. Mayor, what would it mean to New York City to have that big final especially?

Mayor Adams: No, and it's good for the region and it just shows the relationship and coordination with the governor, how we're able to put a package together that was attractive enough to bring in such a major event. The economic boost, the tourism, the energy. And it just really allows a major event of disproportion to be on the world stage of New York City and New Jersey. You cannot deny that this is the center of America's universe, if not globally.

Scarborough: Mike, I understand that Dallas, Texas is a competitor right now for New York, New Jersey. And I mean, you look at bringing an event that big into a state that has rising gun violence. You look at the open carry laws where people can carry around AR-15s, I think. I mean, it's just... And again, the number of homicides there have gone up. Everybody talks about New York, you look at the crime rate in New York, it's not what people say per capita, but it does seem like it. Do you really want to have a massive event with people carrying AR-15s around open carry?

Mike Barnicle: Well, I mean, we're not saying anything new here. I mean, one of the issues that are in front of mind for—

Scarborough: And by the way, Greg Abbott encourages it. They got a governor that encourages this.

Barnicle: He was embarrassed that some other state had more gun owners than Texas had a couple of years ago, and actually tweeted out, come on Texas, let's catch up.

But what's foremost on the minds of American families, a lot of families, is the violence around us, the gun violence specifically. So the idea of holding a global event in a city like Dallas, and there are parts of Dallas that are terrific, there's no doubt about it.

Governor Murphy: A lot of Dallas is terrific.

Barnicle: Okay. All right. Haven't been to Dallas a lot, but...

Governor Murphy: No, go ahead. Go ahead.

Barnicle: Anyway—

Scarborough: Great city. Great city.

Barnicle: Where you can carry a gun, a shotgun, a rifle into a diner or wherever. That's a problem. The other aspect of getting the final game here is, and this is anecdotal, I remember from years ago, John Timoney was number two of the New York City Police Department for years.

Mayor Adams: That's a good man.

Barnicle: Very good friend of mine, a great cop. And he once told me that there were at least 85, perhaps a hundred different languages spoken within the New York Police Department. The idea of having a global event in a tri-state area where you have that many people, not just cops, but many residents who speak several different languages, it's a global area, and it's a magnet for a global event to be held here, the finals of the World Cup.

Mayor Adams: And really as the expansion of soccer in America. America is really the new frontier for the expansion of soccer. When you look at both of our municipalities, you'll see the increase in the diversity of those languages and how the game is enjoyed in their home countries and now in the adopted country of America. So you are going to see the real energy that people are looking for for a major event like this.

But I think it's also important that you pointed out, I said it over and over again, public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity. You have the safe city, it will attract those major events to take place, and that's why we have brought down shootings in the city by double digits, decreased homicides, our seven majors you're seeing moving in the right direction. It's about making sure it's safe, and the governor's doing the same over in New Jersey.

Governor Murphy: Yeah, we're seeing the same curve. I also think I'll put it in the glass half full context in terms of not just guns but values. One of the things we're pitched hard to FIFA is that New York City and New Jersey's on the right side of values, guns are one of those values. But embracing the world, how we think about the environment, how we think about equal rights for all members of our respective societies. So that's a big part of our pitch.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Governor Murphy: In addition to the fact that it's New York, New Jersey.

Scarborough: You know Willie, just talking about crime in New York City. Obviously you look, New York City traditionally has been the safest big city in America. Crime's gone up everywhere, in red states, in blue states. There's an AP article from a couple weeks ago, major crimes are all down, murders have declined, rapes, robberies, burglaries, and grand larcenies, all down.

So this Republican claim, they had these guys come up here to try to distract from all the crimes that Donald Trump's committed or is going to be convicted of, indicted for. Crimes are down. The major crimes are all down in New York City. And you can't say that about some cities in red states.

Mayor Adams: It's just the opposite, many are trending in the other direction. And a lot is attached to, just to really infatuation with guns. We go after those repeated offenders, as I say, the extreme recidivists.
As we rolled out yesterday with the Retail Theft Summit Report, we are really showing how there's a small number of people committing crimes repeatedly. When you go after them, you're going to see everyday New Yorkers able to enjoy the beauty of this amazing city.

And that was a campaign promise. I'm living out the campaign promise that we're going to zero in on public safety, and we're seeing the productivity of that, having something like the World Cup come here. And 99 percent of our jobs we lost pre-pandemic are in recovery, our tourism is increasing. There's a good energy in the city.

Geist: And part of that, it's all happening in New Jersey too. Again, as I was with the governor of Puerto Rico, I'm completely biased because I'm a child of New Jersey, as you know. But there are good things happening in that state right now.

Governor Murphy: Oh, absolutely. Very similar trajectory as Eric is describing in New York City, we're enjoying in New Jersey. We haven't talked about the world-class stadium that we have, 80,000 seats, over 220 boxes. And again, it's a great quality of life in New York and New Jersey and we're really excited.

Geist: And when is the announcement made, governor? When will we know if New Jersey is getting—

Governor Murphy: We think in September.

Geist: Oh, this fall.

Governor Murphy: Yes. Yes. I think September.

Mayor Adams: We have the games. Now we need the finals.

Barnicle: What about perhaps the biggest element of all? I can't think of another tri-state area in the country where the combination of police, security, whatever, could conduct such a large affair as the World Cup. I can't imagine it occurring in Dallas or any of the other cities that were mentioned because New York, New Jersey—

Scarborough: By the way, let me just say to the fine people in Dallas, we love you sincerely. I've always loved Dallas.

Geist: We love viewers in Dallas.

Scarborough: I love Dallas.

Geist: Dallas is great.

Scarborough: It's the leadership, the statewide leadership that causes the problem. Dallas—

Barnicle: That's true.

Scarborough: ... you're looking good. Go ahead, Mike.

Barnicle: That's good.

Governor Phil Murphy: I want to add to that public transportation.

Mayor Adams: Yes, yes.

Scarborough: Yes.

Governor Murphy: We have an ability to move people around that really is second to none, both in New York and between our two states.

Scarborough: You know who else loves Dallas? Katty Kay. And she has a question for y'all right now. Katty.

Katty Kay: That was a really random segue.

Scarborough: It really was.

Kay: Yeah.

Scarborough: Have you ever been to Dallas?

Kay: I have been in Dallas, yeah.

Scarborough: Okay.

Geist: Dallas is great.

Governor Murphy: Yes, it's great. It's fine.

Kay: Great rhinestone belts.

Governor Murphy: A lot of guns though.

Kay: Mayor Adams, I was just wondering, Mr. Mayor, if you could help me out. I'm going to be interviewing Mayor Cantrell of New Orleans later this morning and she of course has a big crime problem in her city. So I want to know if there are lessons that you could give her from what you've done in New York. Are there things that other Democrats who are facing high crime rates in their cities as mayors could replicate around the country?

Mayor Adams: Be true to yourself. And there's a small numerical minority who, no matter what we do about protecting the people of our cities, they're going to yell the loudest. And that is not the overwhelming position of everyday New Yorkers.

When I put in place my anti-gun unit, there was a small number who yelled, but we were able to take over 9,000 guns off the street. When we're using technology to improve public safety, there were those who yelled. You cannot allow those who yell the loudest to believe they're the majority. Go with the desires of the people.

Four million people in our subway system. We increase our ridership. We're decreasing crime in our subway system, removing those who are dangerous to our system. Just be true to yourself. You are elected for a purpose and a reason, like we saw what happened in Philadelphia. Stay true to that mission and you could accomplish what you want to.

Geist: Mr. Mayor, you opened a lot of eyes a couple of days ago when you announced that almost 50 percent of the hotel rooms in New York City are occupied by asylum seekers, by migrants who have come here after crossing the border into the country. And you have not been shy about saying the Biden administration needs to do more to help you out. We are proud that we're a sanctuary city, as you said, you're proud that we welcome migrants here, but the system is overwhelmed. What gives here? How do you see a way out of this?

Mayor Adams: Yes. And the exact numbers, when you look at our hotel rooms from 51 to 200 occupancy that could really handle the migrants, a little over 40 percent of them are handled by migrants and not outside visitors. Particularly around now when people come to graduation ceremonies, they go to those small hotels.

It has overwhelmed our system. And 65,000 people coming to the city just last, a week and a half ago, we had 4,200 in one week. And one day we had 900. The numbers are just unbelievable when you think about it. Our goal is to make sure that we have a real decompression strategy at the border and a decompression strategy in the state.

And really the Democrats, we are losing this argument. We have an obligation to stay true to what I believe the party stands for. And I think the entire party needs to get behind how we handle this mission. Senator Schumer, Congressman Jeffries and the New York delegation, they have done an amazing job of getting resources. The resources have not gotten here, particularly through FEMA.

Scarborough: Well, and the Democratic Party has to get serious like you. We need to be humanitarian. At the same time, Mika, you can't have chaos at the border. It is unsustainable, not just for El Paso, not just for other cities along the border, it's unsustainable for cities like New York City as well. And there's nothing humanitarian. It's like we say about homelessness all the time, nothing humanitarian about having people sleeping outside at three in the morning when it's 15 degrees over grates. That's not humanitarian, that's savage. It's the same thing with the humanitarian crisis on the border and in these other cities. It's not humanitarian. There has to be order brought to this system and it starts at the border.

Mayor Adams: Well said.

Mika Brzezinski: Well, I want to ask Governor Murphy about access to healthcare for women, especially in light of waiting for a court ruling on ban on the abortion drug mifepristone. And you said yesterday that you would consider defying the Supreme Court and continue to provide the drug. And while I think a lot of women appreciate where you're going with this because their healthcare across the country has been dramatically impacted by these sick bans that are rolling back our rights in so many different ways, but impacting our health. Are there consequences though, do you think, to defying a court ruling?

Governor Murphy: Listen, I hope, Mika, it doesn't come to this. But the fact of the matter is, and I mentioned yesterday, particularly women from Black and brown communities. You look at what North Carolina passed for instance, and I'm the chair of the DGA and we helped Governor Cooper push back on that. And I think they've ignited a political storm there that we're going to see the impact of which next year. But they did things like if you're on Medicaid, it's a 10-week ban. You have to go for multiple meetings.

Well guess what? You get a lot of women working multiple jobs. So women are … either their healthcare is either impaired or we're losing lives literally over this. And if that's the case, we're going to leave every option on the table. I'm proud to say that New Jersey is a state that protects the reproductive freedoms and a right to abortion for any women in our state, including those traveling to New Jersey. But if this is what it comes to, and that hearing in New Orleans yesterday was disgusting, we will leave all options on the table.

Mayor Adams: This is the type of governor he is. There's just this absence of common sense governance. Yelling is not governing. And that's why we saw a City Council person dropped out of the race who was good at yelling. This governor is common sense, this is going to impact people, we need to leave all options open on how we're addressing it. That's why you see this type of leadership is needed.

Governor Murphy: Same right back at you.

Scarborough: Jonathan Lemire is with us and has a question. Jonathan.

Lemire: Mr. Murphy, I wanted to ask you, as we know, the time is ticking towards the debt limit being reached, negotiations continuing, the president trying to monitor from overseas. There's been a little bit of optimism in the last 24 hours or so about a deal, but both sides acknowledge, they're still pretty far apart. Just talk to the viewers about if we were, if we were to default what that would mean for a state level, how immediately would you feel the impact there in New Jersey?

Governor Murphy: Oh, you'd feel it immediately in New Jersey and New York City and everywhere else in America, it can't happen. We're playing with fire here, and it just cannot happen. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be responsible discussions, contours of deals around the budget. That seems to be reasonable. I don't know that you can keep going year after year with a 3.5 percent deficit with the indebtedness, therefore piling up into the many trillions. That doesn't feel right to me. But that's a prospective discussion about what are we going to deal with the budget, not a retrospective discussion. It would've huge impacts. It would impact the bond market, the stock market, real estate values. My guess is we would tip into some sort of a economic recession. It would cost jobs. I think the list goes on and on and on, and it's not just in New Jersey. I'm sure the consequences in New York City and around the country would be dire. We just can't allow this to happen.

Scarborough: Mr. Mayor, Mike and I were with Reverend Al last night for a little bit. He had just left Jordan Neeley's family and was going back planning out the funeral with him. We were just talking about the tragedy of his death, talking about the tragedy of the entire situation, how divided not only New Yorkers, but Americans are going to be over all of this. So we won't have that debate right here because it's everywhere as you know. But let's talk about how... You've talked about homelessness, you've talked about quality of life issues. Obviously he had a really, really troubled background and out of the court system over and over again, homeless obviously, had some serious mental health issues. This is a sort of thing you've talked about. We need to get people like Jordan Neeley off the streets and get them to where they can get mental health help. How do we get from where we are now to where the next Jordan Neeley gets the healthcare treatment and care that he needs before tragedy strikes?

Mayor Adams: And when you think about how horrific it was that this young man lost his mother through a horrific crime, right there when that happened, we should have given him the services he needed, the support he needed. There was just a continuous pattern of... Just the warning signs were there that he wanted help. Last year when I talked about using involuntary, bringing into hospitals for care and wraparound services, there was a lot of pushback, but we knew it was the right thing to do after being a former transit police officer going on the ground, seeing what happens when you walk past people who are dealing with mental health illness. And using our criminal justice system as a solution, that's not a solution. You can't have 50 percent of the people at Rikers Island dealing with mental health issues and almost 18 percent severe mental health issues. That's a broken system.

Our goal is to, number one, look at what we call one of the laws that are in place right now to allow clarity on if we see someone that can't take care of their basic needs and they're in danger to themselves, that they can get the necessary care and evaluation. Listen, all of our hearts goes out to the Neeley family. My son's name is Jordan. As I say over and over again, that tore me apart when I saw that young man die. But we have to look at the Jordans that are still out there. No one wants to deal with that. We are. I am not going to allow this to continue to happen. It's my obligation to make sure every New York is safe. That's my obligation, and I take that responsibility seriously.

Geist: It's incredibly important. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, both covered a lot of ground for us this morning. Great to see you both. Thanks for being here.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.


Media Contact
(212) 788-2958