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Transcript: Mayor Adams Appears Live on FOX5's "Good Day New York"

May 2, 2024

Curt Menefee: All right, this morning, pro-Palestinian demonstrations are still going on at a lot of local colleges around New York City. The scene is much quieter than what we saw at Columbia University and City College on Tuesday night. 

Rosanna Scotto: And the situation has presented many challenges for the NYPD. Here to discuss the response is Mayor Adams. He joins us from City Hall this morning. Thank you so much for being with us. 

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Good to see both of you. 

Scotto: Let's talk a little bit about the arrests yesterday, and I guess some this morning. You made mention yesterday that some of these people were not part of the school community. They were outsiders. Do we know who these people are yet, and how many of them? 

Mayor Adams: As I said when this started, that something was different about the protests. This was my, I don't know if it was my police gut feeling, and I asked Intelligence Division Commissioner Weiner to monitor the situation and see what was taking place.  

It was materialized that there were outside agitators who were not part of the school community, as you indicated. It was not only my observation, but also the school. When the president wrote us a letter asking us to come in, she indicated, they indicated in the letter that there were outsiders that were also on the campus. 

Scotto: Mayor, do we know how many outsiders, who are these outsiders? 

Mayor Adams: We have identified some, but I want to go to the number because I hear people often asking that, and I use the analogy often. If you have one bad professor educating 30, 40, 50 college students with inappropriate actions, you don't need 50 bad professors speaking to 50 students.  

You had individuals we identified instructing, training, showing tactics, participating in it. If it's one, if it's two, if it's 20, that is what we need to be focusing on. We have people on the campus that should not have been there, and they were instructing students on inappropriate actions based on their history. 

Scotto: Did you hear about one of the organizers' husbands being arrested on a federal level for terrorism? Do you know anything about that? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, that was part of the briefing I received, and that was really the tipping point for me, and we really leaned into the college officials and stated we're at a different place in this issue. Listen, this is a democracy. We believe in protest. We don't believe in violence, and we don't believe in destroying property, what we witnessed at Hamilton Hall. That was the tipping point for me, that I knew that we had to take action before this continued to unravel. 

Menefee: You know, so far we've seen it happen all over the city, at Columbia, at NYU, at City College. With school getting out soon, any concern that this, or expectation even, that this might spread throughout the city beyond college campuses? 

Mayor Adams: I want to be clear in the mere fact that you're asking that question shows how well the New York City Police Department, they have been doing their job. We've had over 1,000 protests since the October 7th terrible action by Hamas.  
With that, the Police Department have responded. You're not seeing some of the actions you're seeing across the country. You're not seeing assaults on individuals, destructions of property in a major way, because with the summer months that's coming and other activities, we're going to maintain the professionalism that we're known for. 

Menefee: You know we've talked before about New York City, the NYPD knows how to handle protests all over. But usually it's concentrated in one, maybe two areas. We see this going on in Harlem, down in Greenwich Village, because the college campuses are spread out.  

If this spreads over to other places in the city, I think people are starting to become concerned a little bit, one, about the safety aspect, but two, about the cost. There are a lot of resources that have to be allocated to just keeping this within reason here. Should people be worried about the cost of this? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, and that's a great question. You're right. When the Police Department went into Columbia University to secure Hamilton Hall and also the lawn area, they were also at CUNY dealing with extremely hostile protesters who were throwing objects at them, including bottles and other dangerous objects at them.  

They showed their discipline, as was needed. You had protests around the city, and even yesterday you saw a series of protests. This is when people talk about overtime costs for police officers, because many of those officers are doing 12 and 13-hour tours. Many of them are being called in or held from the previous tours.  

That's the cost of public safety. I made it clear over and over again, this city must be and continue to be the safest big city in America, and this is the byproduct of that, the cost that comes with it. Any idea or thought about asking some of the colleges to contribute to the cost? That is part of our conversation, particularly on private institutions.  

We believe that they, too, should contribute to the cost, and one way to prevent the cost from escalating is to have a zero tolerance. As soon as that tent goes up, it comes down. Do not allow this to continue to expand.  
That is what we saw at Columbia University, and that is what we saw at CUNY as well. I have to really commend Fordham University, spoke with the president yesterday. She was very clear on not allowing this to escalate, and as you saw, immediate action was taken, and it was not a prolonged situation like we saw on other grounds. 

Scotto: Mayor, yesterday you talked a lot about the radicalization of young people. You mentioned a professor giving misinformation to students. What happens to that professor? Do we know who that professor is or professors? 

Mayor Adams: No, I was giving what I just did just now, I was giving an analogy, because people are continuously asking, well, how many? Was it 60 percent, was it 70 percent? It doesn't matter. I know how impactful a teacher was in my life, and if she was giving me or he was giving me misinformation or bad information, it could impact the entire classroom.  

This is what I do know. I know that a poll indicated that only 18 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds are extremely proud of America. That's a problem, because that means our farm team, our bench, our next round of mayors and congresspeople and teachers and lawyers are not extremely proud of this country. And you see it when someone takes down our flags and institutions allow our flags to be removed.  

We have to stop it, and we can't allow our children to be radicalized over and over again. This is what happens across the globe. America must wake up and realize that's an attempt to do, and these are the steps that are used to do it. 

Scotto: Let me ask you about, the influx of migrants and people coming to our country who may not love us. What do we do? I know that you're dealing with the migrant situation right now, asking for federal help, paying, whatever you can to help ease the transition for the migrants. How do we deal with migrants who come here that don't love us? 

Mayor Adams: That's a great question, because the irony of it is that when you speak with immigrant groups and when you speak with those who have went through the Darien Gap and walked thousands of miles, they didn't do it because they hate us.  
They do it because they love us. Now, that does not mean that they are those of a terrorist element that are smuggled or sneaks in across the border. We need to identify… You say they hate America. I see just the opposite at these herds and asylum, at these asylum-seeking locations. I see a real passion and love for the greatest country on the globe, and this is the greatest city in that country. 

Menefee: You've talked about not only wanting to come here because the people that love America, but also want to live the American dream, and part of that includes getting a job and providing for your family.  
I know that you've really pushed the federal government to try and help expand the visa program so that a lot of these new migrants can get jobs before the six months after they file paperwork for asylum. Any movement on that, and what are you asking specifically for the federal government to help you with? 

Mayor Adams: We were able to get an increase in temporary protective status for those who are from Venezuela, but just through a short period of time if they were here, we need to really lift that.  

As you just indicated, we need employees. We need everything from lifeguards to workers in the racing industry to food service workers. It's really ironic that when we need so many employees across the country, where states and cities are seeing a drop in population, I think that when people are paroled legally into the country, we should designate where they go based on the needs of the country and allow them to work there for three years, and then allow them to go anywhere in the country.  

To have an adult here and they can't provide for their family, it's not only counterproductive, it's counter-American. Americans have the right to work, and that is what we believe anyone that comes here should be allowed to do. 

Menefee: You know before we let you go, you talk about working. The unemployment numbers for black New Yorkers have gone down the last, what, four or five years? They're at record low right now, right? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, and actually they have dropped 24 percent during my time as mayor for the first time since 2019, we're under 8 percent and it has been a very precision combination of Deputy Mayor Almanzar and First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright and our entire team, Commissioner Pinnock over at DCAS. We've started doing hiring halls, we partnered with DC 37 and local electors. We took the jobs to the people and we did not wait for the people to come to us. 

Scotto: All right, you seem a little tired to me today. I'm just wondering if you had a good night's sleep.  

Mayor Adams: Listen, every night is a good night's sleep, as long as you wake up the next day and can participate and see my good friends on FOX 5.  

Menefee: There you go. Hey, one thing is when you watch FOX 5, and I know you do every morning, every single morning, you know that Rosanna's obsessed with Ozempic. I'm obsessed with rats, all right? I tell you, I'm seeing fewer and fewer rats every time I go out there and I know the numbers are coming down. I'm with you there, brother. Thank you.  

Mayor Adams: Many people don't know it, but I hate rats.  

Menefee: Yes, I think people may have a little bit of a clue that both of us are on the same page with that. Thank you so much, we appreciate you joining us this morning.  

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Take care.  



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