New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio finally spoke about the horrific killing of a black man by a white supremacist in Midtown Manhattan, describing the crime as “domestic racist terrorism” that is “clearly related to the rhetoric of Donald Trump.”
“This is domestic, racist terrorism,” de Blasio said on his weekly #AskTheMayor radio segment with Brian Lehrer. “The challenge here is that a dynamic of hatred has been growing in this country over the last year or more. It’s particularly come out in the open after the election and it’s clearly related to the rhetoric of Donald Trump and even other candidates during the Presidential election that have unleashed forces of hate all over the country.”
Since November, de Blasio has put the blame directly on Trump for the increase in hate crime incidents in New York City.
“Do I blame Donald Trump for using hate speech during his campaign?” de Blasio said during a press conference after election day. “Absolutely. It’s a fact. He said horrible things about Muslims, about Mexican-Americans.”
Earlier this month, de Blasio appeared on RTVi (Russian Television International) and continued to point his fingers at Trump, along with former Breitbart News CEO and top aide Steve Bannon, as the reason for the rise of anti-Semitic incidents.
“Trump unleashed these forces, and some of the people who are closest to these white supremacist movement, and they are very intolerant of any religion that is not Christian,” de Blasio said. “Steve Bannon is an example of a leader of the right-wing that has fostered and supported these kind of movements and certainly given them access to his media platform.”
The remarks from the mayor comes a day after he refused to answer reporters’ questions regarding the attack being racially motivated. According to NYPD Assistant Chief William Aubry, Army veteran James Harris Jackson traveled from Baltimore to New York to “target male blacks.” Jackson picked New York to conduct his attack because “he wanted to make a statement” in the “media capital of the world.” In randomly picking Caughman as his “target practice,” Jackson repeatedly stabbed the 66-year-old man in his chest and back with an 18-inch blade.
On Thursday, de Blasio stormed out his press conference regarding pushing a mansion tax through Albany when reporters began asking him “off-topic” questions regarding reports of the brutal murder of Timothy Caughman was found to be racially motivated.
“Does anyone want to talk about the mansion tax?” de Blasio said in an angry tone before walking out the press conference that lasted for less then ten minutes. “If you want to talk about this, great. If not we’ll take questions another way, another time. Everything else you want to talk about, you’ll get answers through our press office.”
The mayor would go on to tell reporters the breaking news topics were not related to his press conference and if they don’t comply, they shouldn’t come to his press avail.
“This is how we set things up, guys. You don’t want to be a part of it, you don’t have to come,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio defended his actions, saying there is “plenty of transparency” all while complaining that City Hall reporters are ineffective at reporting his message to the public.
“Yesterday, I made clear we wanted to talk about the mansion tax,” de Blasio responded when asked why he is less transparent compared to his predecessors. “The reporters didn’t have a single question about a tax on the wealthy. If the City Hall press corps doesn’t want to talk about affordable housing, that’s their choice. But then they’re not listening to what their readers care about. We have a particular approach to how we bring up each issue and how we discuss each issue, but there’s plenty of transparency.”