Mayor Bill de Blasio said President Donald Trump “seems to enjoy stabbing his home town in the back,” after the president said he’s not interested in bailing out Democratic states like New York.
With New York’s economy clobbered by the coronavirus crisis, de Blasio has been pleading for a $7.4 billion bailout for the city, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo also pushes for more aid for New York State.
“The President of the United States — a former New Yorker who seems to enjoy stabbing his home town in the back — [is] talking about no bailout for New York,” de Blasio said at a press briefing Tuesday. “What kind of human being sees the suffering here and decides that people in New York City don’t deserve help? What kind of person does that?”
In an interview with the New York Post, Trump expressed reluctance to use a new stimulus bill to aid the states hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. “I think Congress is inclined to do a lot of things but I don’t think they’re inclined to do bailouts,” he said.
He went on to say the states shouldn’t get cash in part because they have Democratic leaders. “It’s not fair to the Republicans because all the states that need help — they’re run by Democrats in every case,” Trump said.
Waving the tabloid’s front page, de Blasio tore into the president, who grew up in Queens, as a heartless hypocrite.
He noted the federal government was quick to offer a $58 billion bailout to the airline industry.
“He’s not inclined to do bailouts now? That means he’s not inclined to help firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, police officers, doctors, nurses, health care workers,” de Blasio said. “He’s a pure hypocrite, given how much money he’s put in the hands of the corporations and the wealthy already.”
Covid-19 has killed at least 18,909 people in New York City, and the number of confirmed cases is up to 170,534.
The city has lost $7.4 billion in expected revenue over the current and coming fiscal years, and de Blasio has proposed a budget with a slew of cuts, which he says will get much more severe if aid does not arrive from the feds. Cuomo has also dangled massive cuts, including reducing school funding for districts across the state, if there is no bailout.
De Blasio said Trump is “putting partisanship ahead of the needs of the nation” with his reluctance to help states run by Democrats.
“Who cares who runs the states? The people need help. They’re Americans who need help right now,” he said, arguing that essential workers should not be shut out because they happen to live in blue states. “Does that make them less American in your view, Mr. President?”
De Blasio said the nation’s economy could not recover without its biggest city and financial capital.
“Anyone watching and seeing the pain New York City has experienced, anyone watching and seeing the heroism of so many New Yorkers, anyone watching with a heart and soul would say I want to help those people,” de Blasio said. “I’ll give him another chance to show that there’s a beating heart there, but these comments today show me something very cold.”
De Blasio also announced Tuesday that the city is hiring more call takers to beef up its 311 system, which has been swamped with calls during the pandemic.
It hit a peak of 200,000 calls a day last month, compared to a normal average of 55,000.
The city added 285 new call takers and four call centers, de Blasio said. A priority line was created for calls about urgent needs like food and health care. The mayor said peak wait times have dropped 75 percent.
The number of hospitalizations for coronavirus and the ICU population dropped in the city’s latest data, but the percentage of people testing positive for the virus went up. New York is looking for consistent declines in all three data points before it can begin easing restrictions.