New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had harsh words for Republican leaders in an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos today—and singled out his predecessor Rudy Giuliani.
“I think he’s a lost soul,” de Blasio told Ramos, excoriating the ex-mayor for standing by Donald Trump through controversy over controversy.
De Blasio said he had hoped Giuliani would be a “reformer” when he came into office in 1994. Instead, he said, “he turned into someone who used divisive racial politics on a regular basis to strengthen his hand and then it’s only gotten worse since he left New York City.”
“He continues to defend Trump even when it’s indefensible,” de Blasio said.
There’s no love lost between the two mayors, who have traded insults over the past few years. Giuliani has called de Blasio “ignorant” and blamed him for New York’s homeless problem, while de Blasio has accused Giuliani of “denigrating” black people. Last month, Giuliani said de Blasio was “kind of on Mars” after a homemade bomb in Manhattan injured 29 people. “He looked like he didn’t know what he was doing,” Giuliani told Circa.
During the final stretch of a presidential election between two New Yorkers, the mayor of the Big Apple all but gloated about the pandemonium that has gripped the Republican Party since the Washington Post published a now-infamous video of Trump bragging about sexual assault last week. De Blasio called the video the “final nail” in Trump’s coffin.
“The Republican Party is now sewing what they reaped,” he said. “All those Republican leaders who looked the other way or aided and abetted the Tea Party are now being paid back for it. All those Republican leaders who wouldn’t confront Donald Trump or endorsed him because it was politically convenient even though they knew he was racist and sexist—now they’re in a bind.”
Aside from presidential politics, de Blasio vowed that police body cameras would be “a very, very common sight on the streets in New York City the next few years.” Currently, not a single officer in New York wears a body camera, despite a judge ordering the establishment of a pilot program for cameras in 2013, the New York Times reported last week. A pilot program with 54 officers started in 2014 and ended this March.
De Blasio said that pinning cameras to the uniforms of the city’s nearly 36,000 officers presented “huge logistical and technological challenges” for the nation’s largest police force.
“We’re now in the process of ramping it up first to 1,000 officers in the course of the next year,” and then increasing from there, he told Ramos. “All the footage that they collect, we’re gonna have to figure out some standards for what we keep and what we don’t and for how long, so we’re working that.”
De Blasio also defended a controversial decision not to release emails between himself and several consultants who worked on his 2013 election campaign. The release of the emails under the city’s Freedom of Information law is the subject of a lawsuit by the news channel NY1 and the New York Post.
“I think there are people you’re allowed to have private conversations with [if] they’re your personal advisors,” de Blasio said. “It’s not the same thing as when you do business on behalf of the people. Of course there’s a whole range of things that we obligated to disclose and we should. But there’s still a place in this world to have some trusted souls who are your personal advisors.”