De Blasio makes it 23

New York mayor says ‘it’s time to put working people first’ in campaign launch

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio holds up a copy of “One NYC 2050” as he speaks about the city’s response to climate change in April. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday announced he is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, making him the 23rd major candidate in the race to take on Donald Trump.

In a campaign video, de Blasio says he has taken Trump on before and he’s ready to do it again.

“I’m a New Yorker. I’ve known Trump’s a bully for a long time. This is not news to me or anyone here, and I know how to take him on.”

Asked later Thursday in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about what would set him apart in the crowded Democratic field, de Blasio said he has done a lot of the things that other Democrats are campaigning on.

“I’ve proven that it can be done,” he said. “Guaranteed health care, including mental health care, paid sick leave, pre-K for all.”

De Blasio is serving in his second term, first elected in 2014. In his 3-minute kickoff video he touts some of the programs he launched in New York that other liberals in the race are running on: a $15 minimum wage, universal health care, a free pre-K initiative and a Green New Deal that he announced for the city on Earth Day.

He also promised to take on the rich and powerful and “put working people first.”

And he came back to the incumbent at the end: “Don’t back down in the face of the bully. Confront him, take him on,” he said.

“Donald Trump must be stopped. I have beaten him before, and I will do it again.”

The president mocked de Blasio on Twitter shortly after the mayor’s announcement.

De Blasio has implemented reforms in the city that prioritize low-income residents. In January, for example, he unveiled a $100 million expansion in health care spending on the uninsured, including undocumented immigrants.

But his time as mayor has also been marred by controversy.

In the purchase of affordable housing units, the city paid an inflated price to landlords tied to a donor to de Blasio’s political action committee, the New York Times reported. The city paid the landlords — who have a record of violations for poor housing conditions and were indicted in the 1980s for illegally driving tenants from one of their properties — $120 million more than what city officials appraised the buildings to be worth, according to the Times. 

In March 2017, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that an inquiry found de Blasio engaged in a pay-to-play operation, fundraising for his political action committee from donors who sought business with the city. Prosecutors did not seek charges.

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