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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability

November 10, 2016

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to talk to you for a few minutes about the election, then I look forward to taking questions on any topics on your mind. Yesterday, I was clear about the areas that we are prepared to work with President-elect Trump on for the good of the people of New York City, and I said that with an open mind and an open hand. If President-elect Trump follows through on a vision of creating new jobs and rebuilding our infrastructure, if he follows through on the vision of ending trade deals that are bad for American workers, if he follows through on a vision of closing the carried interest loophole and creating the kind of tax reform that will put resources in the hands of the federal government to invest back in our cities and back in our nation, we’ll work with him and do everything we can to help him achieve those goals. 

Now, let’s state the obvious, there are other areas that are of real concern where if President-elect Trump were to follow through on his platform, there would be obvious disagreements and obvious conflict with my values and with the values of the vast majority of New Yorkers and the needs of New Yorkers. That certainly includes in the area of immigration – any threat to deport people here in our city, any efforts to undermine reproductive rights for the women of New York and for the women of America, any effort to derail Obamacare and take away health insurance from so many people who have struggled to get it and so many more New Yorkers who would have been eligible if Obamacare continued. These are all examples of where we’re going to fight to protect the interests of New York City – certainly as well in the area of affordable housing and public housing – another area where it’s crucially important that the federal government remain committed to the people of this city. 

It’s important – just to put all this into perspective, because unlike, I would say, most elections that we’ve experienced, there are huge question marks about which elements of his platform he’ll follow through on, which he may not. There might be a different shape to his plans and that which said previously. I think it’s good to have an open mind and an open hand, but it’s also good to remember that some of the vision he portrayed on the campaign trail could well be taken literally by President-elect Trump and by his administration. We cannot, in any way, underestimate that challenge.

I want to speak as well, for a moment, about the experience we had here in New York City with Election Day. And it was, to say the least, an imperfect experience, and one that reminds us of how much more work we have to do. There was some good news – more than 2.5 million New York City residents voted, and that is up 60,000 people from the 2012 Presidential election – that’s actually a substantial improvement. But, at the same time, in part because there was more involvement, we saw long lines, we saw delays throughout the City, and it’s quite clear that those confirm a few things – that those realities confirm several things.

One, that the current work of our Board of Elections in inadequate, and certainly not up to the task needed for the City today, and has to change. And we know that the people of this city are increasingly fed up with what happens at the Board of Elections, and they want to see change, and I want to urge strongly that New Yorkers make their voices heard and demand that the Board of Elections adopt our reform plan in which we’ve offered $20 million for a series of tangible reforms that would actually improve the voting process and reduce the lines and guarantee a better experience for everyone. To this day, the Board of Elections still refuses to accept that money in exchange for making the reforms in an accountable manner. I think the people should make their voices heard in this case. 

And second, it’s quite clear that our voting laws, our electoral laws in New York State are fundamentally part of the problem. We have huge pressure put on our Election Day because there is no other option, because there isn’t early voting. And we saw all over the country that early voting generated tremendous enthusiasm in a number of states and tremendous involvement, and allowed people who have difficult schedules and lots of commitments to still make sure they could vote. Because we don’t have it here, it puts all the pressure on one day, and when a machine breaks down or there’s some other kind of problem on the website – excuse me, poll site – that means that one opportunity someone has to vote may be lost. We wouldn’t have that problem if we have early voting. We would have these lines and delays if we had early voting. A huge number of states have it, it’s time for New York State to have it. This is something I’m going to fight for and I think, again, there’s a gathering coalition around the State that believes in this and will fight for it. 

Even something as simple as electronic poll books – this incredibly arcane reality – I saw it at my poll site where if you – you know, your name – last name is listed A through M, you go to one book. If it’s N to Z, you to another book. If, you know, by luck of the draw, a lot of people happen to be at one book at that given moment, you could be waiting a long time where there’s no one at the other book and the poll worker’s just sitting there with nothing to do. That happened with Chirlane and I. We were both in the same book. I had to wait in one line while the poll worker literally had no one to attend to in the other line. This is why electronic poll books make so much sense. It’s 2016, we have computers, we should be able to have a voter go up to any poll worker for their election district and get attended to. 

So, all of these fundamental problems can be addressed. We need to change the Board of Elections approach with the reform plan. We also need a law in Albany that will empower the executive director of the Board of Elections and professionalize the situation. 

The other thing I want to note – we saw scanner breakdowns at a number of sites. Look, some of that is normal with any machinery, any technology. Here’s what didn’t happen – when that occurs, a poll worker is supposed to simply implement a plan in which the ballots can be put in a secure box and then scanned later. So, it’s not really supposed to change the timeline in any appreciable manner. You’re supposed to take the ballot – if you really can’t get it through a scanner – it’s secured and it counts, and then it’s formally scanned later. That didn’t happen from everything we know at a number of poll sites because of the lack of training of poll workers. One of the points in our plan, in our reform plan, it to expand the training of poll workers – this is obviously desperately needed. 

So, I think the people of this City are going to look very, very hard at this question. I think there’s going to be increased pressure, both here in terms of pressure on the Board of Elections, and in Albany in terms of passing new electoral laws. 

Finally, I just want to say, there’s many, many questions that could be asked about this election from a political standpoint, from a sort of election analysis standpoint. To say the least, starting around midnight Tuesday night, going into Wednesday, I started asking myself these questions and started think about what this means for our country, what this means for the Democratic party. I can say this with assurance, I am still processing those questions and talking to a lot of people and thinking them through. So, you may have some of those questions you want to ask – I’m just going to tell you upfront that I’m going to need a few more days to come up with the kind of answers that I feel confident in. I certainly will be addressing these issues a few days down the line, but I’m really not ready yet to do that.

So, that’s my overview. I want to welcome your questions. 


Question: Mr. Mayor, your spokesman, Eric Phillips, yesterday mentioned that you would be reaching out President-elect Trump. 

Mayor: Yes.

Question: Have you done that successfully? [Inaudible]

Mayor: Have not spoken to him yet. We’ve put in the call to set up, you know, when he has an opportunity to call. To say the least, he’s a little busy, but I do look forward to speaking with him. I will certainly speak to him with an open minded spirit. I will say to him that as his fellow New Yorker I wish him success and particularly ask that he remember the people of New York City in the decisions he makes. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, we’ve seen people who have been out in the streets protesting this election. You talked about your support for peaceful protests in the past. I’m wondering if you could reflect a little bit on you see their protests and what’s the way forward? What would be your message to those folks who are out there trying to grapple with what happened?

Mayor: I think, one – everyone with any new leader needs to watch and see what we’re going to get. So that’s not in any way to say there shouldn’t be protests. But I think on a purely historical level, it is obvious – sometimes we get exactly what we expect, and sometimes we get something very different. So for those – and I’ve talked to a lot of people who are feeling kind of hopeless right now – I remind them – wait a minute, first of all, let’s see what President-elect Trump decides to do. But second, it’s a lot easier to talk about some of the things that he offered in his platform than to actually achieve them. And I think a lot of them will generate serious, serious opposition and become harder to achieve for that reason. So – one point is this has not even begun yet. We have not even begun to see what will come of this. I also want to note that – and this is not electoral analysis, this is just fact – Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Democrats picked I think two seats in the Senate and a handful of seats in the House. Even in this state, there was a one seat gain for the Democrats in the Assembly. And I know the Senate is still be counted in a few cases. But, it’s so tough because the numbers do not suggest a massive lean by the American lean by the American people. The numbers suggest a very divided electorate and a very divided people. That is not to take away from President-elect Trump – obviously, an overwhelming electoral college victory. But I think, as with any other vision – his vision is going to run into a lot of challenges in terms of public opinion.

So to the core question about the protesters – I think a lot of people out there are expressing their fear that some of what President-elect Trump has said could really negatively affect their lives and their family’s lives. I think they’re doing the right thing to make their voices heard early on. And I actually feel a lot better about people who in the midst of adversity choose to engage than those who resign themselves and walk away. Yes?

Question: [Inaudible] you talked about working with the President-elect on areas of agreement and opposing him on areas of disagreement –

Mayor: Yeah.

Question: Such as Obamacare. I’ve been talking to women today who are already going out to get IUDs because they’re worried that the coverage of birth control and other items will be disappear in a matter of months. What can you say to those women and how concerned are you that you can actually protect anyone’s rights in New York City if there’s executive orders coming from Washington?

Mayor: I think we’ve got a couple of different realities here. I think all of those concerns are real. I don’t think anyone – at the same time as I say – be aware the difference between what people say they’re going to do and what actually happens, including the fact that opposition changes the course of many things.  And I think in many of these areas, there’s going to be intensive opposition. But, what I’d say from the outset, those fears are real and no one should dismiss them. That being said, we here in New York City, we have a lot of ability to protect people and to insure that our values are the ones that affect people’s lives.

Question: How can you [inaudible]?

Mayor: Look, I think in some much of what we do – maybe this is the even bigger frame that gets to the answer – so much of what this City government does not depend on decisions in Washington. Remember we come – we’re part of a nation that was founded on a federalist approach, where a lot of power devolves to the State level and then down to the local level. So, for example, we the people  of the city made a decision to step away from the unconstitutional of stop-and-frisk. No one can order us to reinstate stop-and-frisk. That is a local decision. That is a decision made by this City government. So much of what we do in education – and this is true all over the country of course – is based on local decision making. We need to recognize that there are a lot of ways that we can keep our values as the governing spirit.

Now there are other areas – and I mentioned some of them that cause tremendous concern. We, for example, believe fundamentally in respecting the rights of New Yorkers, including those who are undocumented. Right now, even with some federal laws that we don’t agree with, we’re still able to assert our rights as a locality to do that. And one thing that has been true across administrations in this city – Democrat, Republican, Independent – is that we recognize as a matter of public safety, we have to ensure that undocumented immigrants have an open channel to our police and a real relationship. So we’ve put some real limitations on how we deal with federal immigration authorities. Again, if some efforts are made federally to change that, those could create real challenges. But there’s still some areas where local discretion holds sway. That’s true in all matters. In terms of protecting reproductive rights, we’re going to do everything we can within our State and local law – and also with our public health system. So, all of this has to play out, but I want New Yorkers to know: we have a lot of tools at our disposal; we’re going to use them. And we’re not going to take anything lying down. I think that’s the central point. Anything we see as a threat to New Yorkers, we will confront. Yes?

Question: Will you protect confidentiality of your IDNYC database if the feds want to seize it to know who’s not here legally?

Mayor: Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I think I’m on firm ground in saying there still – Donald Trump is not changing the Constitution. He can change some federal laws, but the Constitution protects a lot of the rights and powers of localities. That’s how it was built. I was talking to someone the other day – we were not – in the 1780s, they didn’t say here is this land mass that is America, and we’re creating one national government and that’s it. They very explicitly said here’s a set of states and each one of them will have their rights and prerogatives, and then have a national government on a federal basis. That reality remains. So we’ll look at each and every situation individually. But I think on some of those issues – remember, on privacy issues, there’s a very interesting sub-current – there is a libertarian streak, powerful one , running through the Republican Party where – and we saw it on the Patriot Act – where there are a number of Republicans very worried about government intrusion into privacy who actually found common cause with progressive Democrats. So on something like that, I think because it touches that button directly of whether people’s personal privacy is going to be respected, I think that’s one where there would be a real fight.

Question: Can you assure folks who have the IDNYCs that you will protect their identity at all costs?

Mayor: Absolutely.

Question: Mr. Mayor, can you talk a bit about implications of the Senate and House being under Republican control for federal funding for the city. What is your thinking – what are you looking at? What’s your thinking about that?

Mayor: I want to state the obvious. The House and Senate – it’s not like we had a good situation there and we lost it. Again, ironically, the Democrats gained slightly in both houses. I think we have for a long time seen declining federal support. And the notion of any improvement in federal support – I mean even when we talked over the last months about what might happen in this election – I said there was a hopeful scenario if the Democrats have the White House and the Senate, but it wouldn’t be enough and it would be long time before we had a scenario where you would really see the federal government back in the business of investing in cities. So, unified Republican government is a very interesting scenario. It’s very troubling to me on some levels, but you know what? There are also scenarios where maybe some things can get done because at least there’s not the gridlock we had before.

I start with the assumption that we have a real shot on infrastructure for positive change. And I start with the assumption that areas we should be particularly concerned about are affordable housing and healthcare. Just based on what we’ve seen already with Republicans, whenever they had power, what they did to public housing, what they did to affordable housing programs like Section 8, and then specifically on the threat to repeal Obamacare. Now, repealing Obamacare – talk about easier said than done. If Republicans move to repeal Obamacare – what happens to everyone who had insurance under Obamacare? What happens to everyone who no longer – who does not yet have insurance? What happens to people who believed it was right for their children to be covered up to the age of 26 years old? What happens to people with pre-existing conditions? Some of the elements of Obamacare were very popular with the American people, and I think that’s going to put Republicans in a very interesting place and they proceed on that.


Question: [Inaudible] lawmakers behind the municipal ID law said that the IDNYC records would be destroyed by the end of the year in the event that a conservative Republican were to enter the White House. Is that still going to happen?

Mayor: As you know, there’s been an ongoing plan, regardless of any electoral activity, of how long records are kept? Given this new reality, we’re certainly going to assess how we should handle it. Remember, it takes time for laws to pass, and we have to see what the specifics will be. But we’re going to look at that question, for sure, about how we want to handle it in light of what happened.

Question: Mr. Mayor, since Donald Trump has described you in his words as the worst mayor in the United States, and you’ve been highly critical –

Mayor: Yes.

Question: – of one of his top advisors, Rudy Giuliani. I wonder how you plan to forge a relationship with him and his administration? What’s the way forward for New York City?

Mayor: Look, I think it’s fair to say that lots of people have had differences, but can still work together. We’re about to find out who Donald Trump is. He’s never held public office. I think we can all agree – some of the things he pledged to do are just not going to happen. So he’s going to have to make a series of choices. And he’s going to learn from experiences – every one of us does in executive office – what’s really possible. I start with an open hand. It’s no surprise I have my disagreements with him. It’s no surprise he has his disagreements with me. If there’s any way we can work together, I’ll look to do that.

Question: So are you extending an olive branch in any way? Are you going to retract some of the harsh things that you’ve said –

Mayor: No. I don’t expect him to – I don’t except him to retract the things he has said about me. And I’m not going to retract the things I said about him because I believe them. That doesn’t mean people can’t work together. I want to emphasize – and maybe it’s different in other parts of life or other professions. In this work, we often have to work with people we have real disagreements with and with people who there are hard feelings with. It doesn’t stop you from working together if people want to get something done. If Donald Trump puts forward an infrastructure plan that will help New York City and he can get the votes for it – of course we’re going to support him.

Question: So do you think he could be [inaudible] there was that headline – [inaudible]. Do you think you can avoid to do that to New York City?

Mayor: I think it would be not only morally wrong. I would like to believe that he has enough sense of where he comes from that he would not think to do that. That’s part of what I talked about yesterday. I do think it’s important that he understands this city. And I do believe he loves this city. No matter how much I disagree with him – I don’t take away from him that I think he loves New York City. But I also think it would be seen as a different kind of hypocrisy to turn against the place he came from.


Question: You put – ThriveNYC has put enormous resources into mental wellness. But, there are critics who say that that’s at the expense of helping the seriously mentally ill. For instance, we’ve seen these cases recently – Melanie Liverpool and Deborah Danner, the woman uptown who was unfortunately shot. I mean these are people who really would have benefitted on Kendra’s Law. But, it appears that the City is reluctant to really embrace Kendra’s Law.

Mayor: No, that’s wrong on two levels, respectfully. We believe in Kendra’s Law. It is much easier said than done to use Kendra’s Law as a tool to get to these core problems. No hesitation on my part to use Kendra’s Law whenever humanly possible. I think the – and I don’t think there’s a contradiction between the focus on mental health more broadly and specifically going at people with serious mental health problems that have a nexus with violence, which is really what we’re focused on. So there’s two trains running here that are very much in sync. Citywide – I think we can all agree on this together – the running number is 1 in 5 New Yorkers has some kind of mental health challenge, from the smallest to the deepest problem. Until now there has not been a systematic approach to try and get help for people. We’re putting those building blocks I place, but we’re literally creating a mental health system where it didn’t exist before. NYCWell is a crucial piece of that just announced where anyone can call for themselves or anyone else – let me finish this – and get help and get follow up. That’s going to change the playing field because if that starts to take hold a lot of people that we end up reading about in a horrible headline will get help years or decades earlier. The second piece of the equation around NYC safe and folks with serious mental health issues, folks who have been specifically designated to need treatment plans and have a violent history that piece is progressing and we’re going to have a lot more to say on that shortly to show where some of the progress is. The problem is that we need the evidence that there is a propensity to violence to fully be able to realize that vision in each individual case. Sometimes what we find is someone has a mental health problem and there is not violence until the ultimate moment they all come to our attention. That is a whole different ballgame. But what you will see soon is some real progress in terms of identifying folks with a serious mental health problem and a history of violence and working to connect the dots to get them mental health coverage that they’re not getting now.

Question: [Inaudible] for NYCWell apparently people who call seeking help regarding their [inaudible] for relatives living with them they are – there is no path through that phone line to get help in that way.

Mayor: I don’t believe that’s the whole story, but I’d be glad to get you a specific answer. The point of any call is to get people connected to help. Meanwhile our effort to identify people who have a serious mental health problem and a history of violence those go on either way. And that is based on a lot of different information that we receive and are able to tap into. If there’s anything more we need to do to connect those dots, we will, but I want to be very clear that the efforts to – the NYC Safe initiative exist independently from what calls come in.

Question: Talking about areas where NYC does have a lot of discretion, but when it comes to immigration law which is largely in the federal domain. You know – should Trump go forward with plans to do deportations and specifically should he go forward with his vow to withdraw all federal funding from cities that have sanctuary city policies, how will you react to that? And can you assure New Yorkers that you want to keep those policies in place regardless of any retaliation?

Mayor: Again, I think it is speculative to assume how he’s going to proceed. I take his platform and his vision very seriously, and I think it is in many ways very dangerous. That being said, you know, one has the distinct impression that some of that was just for show, so we’re going to find out. The question at hand – we are not going to sacrifice a half-million people who live amongst us who are part of our communities, whose family members and loved ones happen to be people in many cases who are either permanent residents or citizens – we’re not going to tear families apart. So we will do everything we know how to do to resist that. I think this plays out in a much deeper way. It’s not going to be a NYC specific issue. It’s going to be a national issue, and I think the notion of – when you consider how many cities in this country share our values on this point unless Donald Trump wants to have you know a deep, deep rift with all of urban America which happens now to be the core of the American economy I suspect there’s going to be some revaluation by him of his position.

Question: Have you found yourself after the election of Trump in a position of having to console your children and what did you tell them particularly to your daughter. And separately do you think that in this moment you and the governor could kind of align together to create some kind of [inaudible] and have you talked to the governor about that?

Mayor: Have not talked to him, look forward to talking to him about it. But look I think it’s very consistent with my view that there is going to be a need to protect the interests of New York, and I’m certainly ready to work with the governor any time that we can do that effectively. In terms of my children, you know, they certainly felt this very deeply. I think both of them, you know, were very much engaged in this year and watched it carefully and felt a lot about it and were shocked by the result and were pained by the result. And you know they’re very angry that this could happen. They don’t think it represents the views of their generation. But at the same time, you know, both of them were pretty resolute. They – there was no quit to them. They were both pretty clear that they have work to do.

Question: What did you tell them about [inaudible] in their moment of pain?

Mayor: I told them that I had been to this place in history before when Ronald Reagan got elected and I was pretty much close to their age. It was not the same thing by any stretch to be fair to Ronald Reagan. It was – Ronald Reagan was an experience public servant and in many ways more predictable than Donald Trump, and he had not said as divisive, hateful things, but that being said we all could tell that something fundamental was about to change in our country and in many ways for the worse from my point of view. So I went through – at that time – trying to come to grips with that and trying to figure out how do you maintain your hope, how do you maintain your sense of your involvement being worth it, and I talked to them a little bit about that. And you know obviously I found my way, and here I am. Rich?

Question: Mr. Mayor, I’m trying to figure out your attitude in whatever the coming phone call is. Do you have an olive branch in one hand and a boxing glove on the other? What is it?


Mayor: Look, I – and again this is – I hope people understand as unusual as Donald Trump is, we’ve all been in this situation. Anyone who’s been in this work for a while has won and lost has had to, you know, either make a concession call or be on one side or the other of it or working on the staff of someone that has to make a concession call. We’ve all been there. I think the reality is it’s my obligation to congratulate him and to hope that he succeeds because we should all want our president to succeed and to say that I’m willing to work with him for the good of New York City and ready to meet with him and see where we can find common ground. That’s going to be my attitude, and I think that’s the right thing to do in any first conversations, and then if areas of disagreement start to emerge, they start to emerge. We’re adults – that’s not a shock. But I’m going to offer an open hand and hope for the best.

Question: Sir, will you talk to the security problems at Trump Tower is going to present for New York City and you know how you’re going to figure out a way so that New Yorkers who need to use 5th avenue can get to where they have to go and at the same time are you – you know – thinking of making a free speech zone that doesn’t disrupt traffic so that you know people who are going to probably want to protest at certain times will have a place to do that?

Mayor: I think the NYPD as we saw last night – I think they did a brilliant job, and I was in touch with Commissioner O’Neill throughout the evening. It’s a challenge. I don’t think it’s an overwhelming challenge. Look we’re talking about the next few months and then Donald Trump’s going to be living in the White House. In the meantime, the NYPD work with the Secret Service have created a very strong security plan. Yeah, there’ll be some disruption but look at the bright side – the holidays are coming anyway Midtown is going to be messed up anyway you know. I think people are going to manage. They’re going to make their adjustments. As for protests, I think there’s a pretty strong tradition in this country that you don’t isolate protest too far from the point where people are focusing on. Even the white house historically people you know get very close to the White House when they’re protesting. That’s actually been something that’s bene honored across generations and parties. The NYPD is certainly going to figure out the best location, but I don’t think we’re talking about moving people far away from

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: It’s not my impulse. I want to defer to the NYPD’s initial thinking, but I would say there’s a clear tradition in this country where we try to accommodate protests as close to the point as the people protesting want. When they come to Gracie Mansion we don’t say we’re going to put your four blocks over. When they come to City Hall to protest – even though I don’t like what they say all the time – we don’t say, nope, sorry, you’ve got to be over by the river. It’s the American tradition. It’s a good one. It’s a New York City tradition to honor and respect protests whether we agree with it or not, so we’re talking about a couple of months. I’m quite certain the NYPD can handle it.

Question: Mr. Mayor you said that you haven’t fully analyzed things yet but you surely have had some thoughts about what went wrong for democrats especially in swing states. What do you think looks like it went wrong and have you had thought about whether Hillary Clinton was the right candidate to try to win the White House with the Democrats?

Mayor: I will be very happy to tell you what I’m thinking when I finish thinking.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I just got off the phone with some immigration lawyers and activists and advocates. They’re very concerned that people are going to be normalizing Donald Trump as an individual in the next 72 hours with all the rhetoric especially targeting immigrants. How – and you’ve been very outspoken – how do you deal with him very respectfully without normalizing him?

Mayor: It’s a great question. I really fear – I mean excuse me – I do not fear, I do not fear at all the quote-unquote normalization of Donald Trump. And I’ll use the Reagan analogy – much more mainstream, much more courteous you know his policies were in many ways much less radical a departure. I can safely say for all eight years I never lost track of my values and what I felt about President Reagan. Even if I could respect him as command in chief, even if sometimes he did something I could agree with never had any trouble telling the difference. I think most people are going to be able to separate the fact that of course – look we’d like him to succeed. I do believe President Obama is right, you’re supposed to have a patriotic impulse to want your president to succeed, but if we see the same Donald Trump we saw on the campaign there’s not going to be any normalization. If we see a very different Donald Trump, which is the X-factor here – we don’t know what we’re going to get, there’s no one in this room, no one in this country who knows what we’re going to get – maybe we see something very different and maybe that’s something people can deal with better, but I do not fear this becoming the new normal. I think it will be very easy to keep an objective mind.

Question: Now that we may have the Giuliani, or a Giuliani-esque, Department of Justice – a very different one [inaudible] but has very little interest in police accountability and these issues, does the put more of an onus on New York City to do its on police reform?

Mayor: That’s a good question. I’d say a couple of things. First of all, even if some people are speculating who President-elect Trump will choose for Attorney General, you know, the President-elect has not spoken to this issue yet, and then there is –

Question: His law and order platform has been pretty clear.

Mayor: But again, –

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Hold on, hold on. You asked a question – I’m responding to your question. We don’t know who’s going to be Attorney General. There will be – I would say, one thing that is going to be true about one party rule. In one party rule, you, and everyone else, in the media is going to have, in some ways, a more straight forward sense of mission. There’s not going to be a whole lot you have to look into in terms of the Democratic side of the isle in Washington. I think there’s going to be a very close examination of anyone that President-elect Trump nominates for a cabinet position, and a lot of other things will be looked at. So, let’s be clear – between now and then, a lot can happen. Second, I think you’re right on a platform level. The good news from our point of view is we already know where we want to go on reform. It was decided by the people in the last election. We are deepening the reform all the time. And even though we have a federal monitor in the stop and frisk case, but we would be continuing those reforms either way.

Yeah, Dana?

Question: There’s been some stuff written about how Senator Chuck Schumer [inaudible] has to reimagine his role less as majority leader and more as bulwark against, you know, Trump’s worst impulses. Are you similarly reimagining your role on a national stage as, you know, a leader of the one of the most progressive cities in the country in the era of Trump?

Mayor: Look, it’s a fair question, but I put in the rubric of things I’m still processing. As to Senator Schumer, look, let’s be clear, largely due to his leadership, two seats were gained. You know, a few more and the Senate would have tipped and only this extraordinary set of circumstances stopped that from happening. I know the theory of – and this is one thing I’m going to say – I think it’s factual – the theory of 2018 is it’s a less good year for Democrats in terms of the Senate, but, again, let me offer just a moment of, you know, gray hair in history here. Boy, can a lot happen between now and the 2018 election. So, you may find people in this country wanting a whole lot more change, and that could mean a Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, so, that ballgame’s far from over. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Again, that’s something I’m reflecting on. 

Question: What is your message, or what would you want to say to the Muslims or the Arabic of New York City?

Mayor: I want all – first of all, everyone in New York City – to know that we’re standing by our values and that we will fight to protect our values. And, again, a whole lot of what happens in the City is based on what the City government does, not what the federal government tells us to do. NYPD, our Department of Education, and so much of the rest of this City government – we make our decisions on a huge swath of issues. We respect all people. We respect Muslim-Americans, which is why we added the Eid holidays to our school calendar, for example; which is when there’s a bias attack against Muslim-Americans, the NYPD is there to protect then. The 900 members of the Muslim society who are members of the NYPD – nothing’s changing that. So, I would say to Muslim New Yorkers who, of course, are fearful at this moment, we have your back and we will protect you. 

Question: Mr. Mayor –

Mayor: I gave you one – we’ll do one more – last one, after you. You, go ahead. 

Question: Have you spoken to Attorney General Loretta Lynch at all about the Eric Garner case? Are there any concerns that, that won’t get wrapped up in time for the transition?

Mayor: I have not spoken to her since the election. The last time I spoke to her was during the latest developments in the case and simply emphasized that people very much want to see resolution, but I have not heard a strict timeline then, nor have I since, but I expect to at least get a little new information in the coming days from her. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, it wasn’t long ago that you said you felt the country wanted a more progressive direction. Have you thought about that in light of what happened with Donald Trump’s election? And what do you think about the future of the Democratic party? What do they need to be doing in the next few years? 

Mayor: Fair questions that fall in the same rubric that I’m thinking on and will have more to say in a few days. I would only tease it by saying my fundamental views and my analysis certainly have not changed. I think there’s a lot more to this election than the initial analysis is pointing out, but I’ll speak to that when I feel I have my thoughts together. 

One – two – 

Question: Mr. Mayor, I just wanted to clarify what kind of considerations you’re getting about the IDNYC program and the [inaudible] there. Would you – are you recommending people maybe not apply for the –

Mayor: No, I would strongly urge people to keep applying. Again, it won’t shock you to know, you know, we are about 36 hours into making sense of these results. So, we haven’t come up with every decision about what this new reality means, but I can say that IDNYC is a process in which we’ve really respected people’s privacy and confidentiality and we already said there was a process for dealing with any records that we have. We’ll think now about any additional approaches we want to take. But, in the meantime, of course people should apply for it. It’s even more important at this moment to know that your city stands by you and that we respect you and you know I’m obviously saying that to folks who may not be documented. You know, a huge percentage of the people who applied for IDNYC happened to be fully documented American citizens, but believe in it as a matter of local pride and they like the benefits that go with it.

Question: The electoral college doesn’t vote for another month or so and there are online petitions encouraging people to support – when they do vote for some of the members to go rouge – and obviously it’s very unlikely, but is this something that you might encourage fellow Hillary Clinton –

Mayor: It’s the first time I’m hearing of it. I think it’s – it doesn’t sound like a particularly productive approach. 

Question: [Inaudible] insomnia [inaudible].

Mayor: Excuse me?

Question: A sort of despondency insomnia –

Mayor: Did you say despondent insomnia? 

Question: I’m curious how you’re sleeping.


Mayor: I’m sleeping fine. Again, I am – look, I think when you are a chief executive, you have to stay steady and you have to recognize there’s any number of potential outcomes. As I say, I have a profound critique and what he’s said to-date, but I don’t know which Donald Trump I’m going to get. And if there’s a Donald Trump who wants to create a huge infrastructure program that could help New York City, I’m going to do my damnedest to work with him. So, this ballgame ain’t over and also having lived through a somewhat similar time in history I can say you just have to stay resolute and keep going. So, I’m not having any trouble sleeping.

Okay, I’m going to do – hold on, getting all crazy here.


Okay, go.

Question: Is it possible that you are being somewhat naive here about what has just happened in this country [inaudible] in particular there’s always some chatter about replacing Paul Ryan who [inaudible]? And Donald Trump, he may learn how to read a teleprompter, but that doesn’t mean his essential nature has changed here. 

Mayor: Well –

Question: You seem to be suggesting that there’s a possibility that these people will be constrained in some form. 

Mayor: I think –

Question: [Inaudible] eliminating some federal bureaucracy. 

Mayor: Yeah, wait. Slow your role. 


I think – now, listen –

Question: The question is, are you being naive?

Mayor: I think I might be, and I think you might be, and I’ll tell you why. I think the argument would be – the thinking that there are some restraints in our society that would stop the most radical things from happening, right? I can argue that, but you could say, well, wait a minute, that’s naive because so much has changed now that that’s no longer true. My counter argument about naivety would be, a whole lot of history says that is still true. And isn’t it interesting that Republicans have, you know, for decades said they want to take away a woman’s right to choose, but they never did it, even when they had different elements of the power to do it? Because it will create a political revolution if they do that – one example. So, I think it is fair to say there’s a real threat here, no one should minimize the threat. Donald Trump may be planning on doing exactly everything he said out loud, but, of course, [inaudible] it is often times he’s said multiple versions of the same policy, platform, so we don’t know which was the actual one. But he may intend on doing some very radical things and things I would find very destructive. He also may run into public opinion. He may run into constituency dynamics. He may run into divisions and currents within his own party. There are so many open questions here. And we could also say that before a few years ago, the Donald Trump we knew in many ways was a go-along, get-along businessman. So, I think it’s too early to say. I think it’s – and I know this is a subtle point, but we have to simultaneously, again, keep an open hand, because there could be some good work to do – I think Bernie Sanders’ statement really hit this note. Where there’s are some places we can align, we should. If what he said in the campaign is really what he intends to do, it’s going to be a long conflict, there’s no two ways about it. But, at the same time, if he tries to do some of the things he talked about doing, it will open up a series of Pandora’s boxes that will make it very, very difficult for him to proceed, and I think that’s a real politick assumption. 


Question: [Inaudible] position of DNC chair something you’d be interested in?

Mayor: No. 

Question: Just to clarify the conversation you’d like to have with him – did you call him? Are you waiting for him to call back? 

Mayor: We called his staff. I don’t have his personal number. I don’t know if you – yeah, my staff called. As I said, before meeting him at 9/11, I don’t remember ever having shaken his hand in the past at anything. I don’t – I literally never came across him to be the best of my knowledge, so I don’t have a personal relationship, but we reached on a staff level and we’re trying to arrange a call.

Question; [Inaudible] call back?

Mayor: No. I said before 9/11 I literally do not remember being in the same room with the guy. 

Go ahead.

Question; Can you talk about [inaudible] New York City. Should be break tradition [inaudible] and not move into the White House, but stay in New York City, would you be horrified by that prospect?

Mayor: I think it would be untenable given modern security realities and the need to govern. I think it’s not about how I feel, I just don’t think it would be workable. 

Go ahead.

Question: Mr. Mayor, since he lives right on Fifth Avenue and you live in Gracie Mansion, have you given any thought to inviting him over for dinner to have a conversation?

Mayor: I would happily invite him to dinner to have a conversation. Again, I think he’s busy right now. But, again, I’m going to hold out the hope that we can have a productive conversation, maybe even sit down and see if there is any common ground, while, at the same time, I know where the areas of disagreement will be.

Unknown: Last question.

Question: Have you spoken to Secretary Clinton?

Mayor: I’ll be speaking to her later today.

Thank you, everyone. 

Question: Can you say what you’re planning to tell her at all?

Mayor: No.

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