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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live on MSNBC's Morning Joe

December 6, 2019

Joe Scarborough: So Willie, you and I admit we make mistakes every three minutes.

Willie Geist: In real time we –

Scarborough: It makes life a lot easier.

Mika Brzezinski: To [inaudible] right?

John Heilemann: Like the one you guys made just now in the commercial break – incredible.

Scarborough: I made a mistake –

Heilemann: Shocking, it was shocking.

Scarborough: I am sorry, I am deeply saddened.

Brzezinski: Alright, Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now a Democratic candidate for president. Joining us now, former Democratic presidential candidate, and our current Mayor of New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio, and also with us, senior advisor at and an MSNBC contributor, Karine Jean-Pierre.

Scarborough: Bestselling author today.


Brzezinski: Yes, it’s an amazing book.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: There you go.


Scarborough: Moving forward, get it right now. So, Mr. Mayor, John Heilemann never really learned that you don’t leave the best stuff in the break. And he asked you a question that I overheard, which was do you miss running for president and I was fascinated by your response.

Mayor: Yeah, I miss it because it’s an incredible experience connecting with the American people and being able to talk about where we’re needed to go. And to talk about for example, how this has to be the party of working, not the party of billionaires, I’m sure we’ll talk about that in terms of Michael Bloomberg. But it’s also –

Scarborough: But you enjoyed being out there?

Mayor: I loved being there.

Scarborough: That’s nice to hear, because you’re always – oh, it’s such a hard slog, but you really enjoyed it?

Mayor: Joe, it’s amazing, and it’s encouraging. And I think a lot of our public discourse actually misses the fact that on the ground in the America are not only a lot of good people but a lot of good people trying to address the issues in our community, trying to work together, working together across partisan lines.

Scarborough: Right.

Mayor: I see it out there, and I’m very hopeful for the future of the country. I’m also hopeful for the future of the country. I’m also hopeful they’ll be an amazing—

Scarborough: So you running actually makes you more hopeful about American democracy?

Mayor: More hopeful.

Scarborough: Let me ask you about this, because we’ve talked about this over the phone I guess last week, and I thought it was fascinating what you said. And it was that these debates, we have ten people on the stage, it’s just impossible to break through, it protects the front runners. And you suggested – hey, you know what, maybe you give five people an hour, hour and a half. You give the other five people an hour, hour and half. Because you say until you get down to five candidates on the stage, you’re not going to have a real debate.

Brzezinski: Or a conversation.

Mayor: Joe, it was so fascinating experiencing it that what happens in the process – even though I commend the DNC for attempting a more inclusive process – 10 people on a stage actually was counterproductive. I think it turned a lot of voters off. I think that the dialogue never could take shape. And it was very hard to compare if you’re going to go shopping in the supermarket or the department store or online to compare against 10 items get a little confusing, right? Mostly you want to come down to a few. You put five people in a room, you’re going to have a real conversation.

Scarborough: Yeah.

Mayor: And I think when I say I’m hopeful from my experience out around the country, it’s about the people. But I will tell you the process I think was off-putting to people.

Brzezinski: Yeah.

Mayor: Because, I don’t they felt there was much they could latch onto in terms of what really mattered for their lives. A lot of those debates kind of veered away from the kitchen table from the everyday reality of people’s lives – we need to bring it back to that.

Brzezinski: So let’s – I want to ask you the question about Mayor Bloomberg, and his turnaround on stop and frisk. Do you think it was authentic?

Mayor: No.

Brzezinski: And – okay, explain.


Mayor: Let me make it simple for you.

Brzezinski: Yeah.

Mayor: Okay, for years the stop and frisk crisis in New York City went on for years and years. And there were protests, there were appeals from clergy—

Brzezinski: There were court proceedings.

Mayor: —court proceedings – a federal judge found it unconstitutional. Michael Bloomberg defended it every step of the way. Now, we’re talking about 1,700,000 people in one were stopped. And they were invaded. I mean think about it – if you were walking down the street, you had done nothing wrong, you’re stopped, you’re padded down, you’re treated like you’re a suspect to a crime – and who were the targets? Overwhelmingly young men of color. Now, this was talked about for years, he always said “no, no, no we have to do it to stop crime.”

Brzezinski: Right, and it’s a debate, and there were numbers that proved that, you know, some of it was effective in certain ways. I have my opinions against stop and frisk, I think they align with yours, but as a candidate, do you think Michael Bloomberg would make a good president? When you look at his accomplishments across the board, how damning in your estimate is that stop and frisk reversal, given his many other accomplishments running the City of New York?

Mayor: For today’s America, and today’s Democratic Party, he does not fit at all. Why? He gave away the store in New York City to developers and landlords, the rich got richer, and he helped the rich get richer. He’s not a real Democrat, he’s a guy who endorsed George W. Bush for reelection in 2004. He was a Republican as Mayor of New York City. There are so many things here, before you even get to stop and frisk. I have spent six years fixing and undoing what Michael Bloomberg did. And this is a guy, when the Great Recession hit, and people were hurting in this city, and people were losing their jobs and losing their homes, he literally went to Goldman Sachs to give them a pep talk. He did not go out into the neighborhoods of our city and talk to people about the way they were hurting. He opposed increasing the minimum wage. He opposed things like paid sick days. He’s a billionaire who’s not a real Democrat. And on stop and frisk, we all said, you’re actually creating a rift between police and community. I became Mayor – crime has gone down for six years in a row, without stop and frisk, and it’s allowing us to heal the relationship between police and community.

Brzezinski: Karine, what do you make of his assessment of Bloomberg’s candidacy?

Karine Jean-Pierre: So, I think you’re right, I think it’s problematic that we, for example, lost Senator Kamala Harris this week and now we have two billionaires who are essentially buying their way into the primary and it’s problematic. And I think that’s a bigger question of the Democratic Party, how they went about this process, in particular the debate process, but I do – I want to say I have to commend you. I know, in 2013, stop and frisk was one of the main issues and you were able to – it plummeted under you, stop and frisk was gone, as you said crime went down. And so, with all of that said, I guess my question to you then – you laid out why Bloomberg doesn’t work, why he doesn’t fit. Who – are you going to endorse someone? Who do you think fits in this Democratic primary going into 2020, going to go against Donald Trump?

Mayor: Look, I am definitely going to endorse at some point, and I believe the progressive wing of the party is the dynamic element right now. I believe – the Democratic Party, if we’re going to be the party of working people, we’re going to be a party that says that the wealthy should be taxed at a much higher level, they should pay their fair share, we’re going to be a party that believes in things like raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in this country – it’s quite clear to me what it looks like when we’re a progressive party that focuses on everyday families and working people. Certainly I give a lot of credit to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two exemplars, and by the way, they keep hanging in strong in this race because they’re actually saying something that fits what Democrats are feeling, I believe that. But one more point on Bloomberg. We have to be clear, he willfully ignored the voices of African-Americans and Latinos in this city, and fear-mongered – he said “oh, no, no, we need these aggressive approaches or else crime will go up.” Let me tell you, not only did crime go down for six years in a row, last year, in New York City, we had 150,000 fewer arrests than the last year of Bloomberg, and crime went down, so not only should we be talking about stop and frisk, he believed in a heavy approach – to a very aggressive approach to arrest and incarceration. And this is a party that has rejected mass incarceration.

Scarborough: We’re coming up on a hard break. Top of the hour, but we have 47 more people who have questions, it’s a lightning round.

Geist: I just want to ask you, just to go to back to the presidential race for a moment. Elizabeth Warren has been obviously a star of this race. Her rise has been extraordinary. But since she announced the details of her Medicare for All plan and how much it would cost the American people and the idea that those who have private insurance would lose it over time, her numbers have gone down. Do you think Medicare for All really is where the Democratic Party is right now?

Mayor: Sure, I think universal health care—

Geist: How do you explain her fall since the announcement?

Mayor: First of all, never assume that any given moment is going to hold, right? There are people who are counting out Elizabeth Warren early on in the election, then she surged for months – still a lot of time on the clock. But here’s what I would say – this party believes in universal healthcare. Very fair discussions about how you get there, when you get there. But the bigger thing we need to pull back towards, and this is where we win, is everyone should have healthcare and it should be affordable, that’s where we win. Now there’s other big issues we’re facing, and I really want to talk to you guys about NAFTA too, because this is an example where Democrats can actually get it right or get it wrong in the next few weeks, which I think is going to define this election.
Scarborough: So, Alex cut us off, because we have NAFTA up here, number one. You know what, we’re going to have to ask you to come back.

Mayor: Alright, I accept that.

Unknown: [Inaudible]

Scarborough: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

Brzezinski: Come back.

Mayor: Thank you, happy holidays.

Brzezinski: Thank you.

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