New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is so fed up with the city’s panhandlers begging for money on the street that he wants to ban the practice.
“I’m saying that not as a matter of policy. I’m saying that as a human being, bluntly,” Mayor de Blasio told WNYC radio Friday.
“I just wish it didn’t exist,” he added.” I am just expressing a frustration because I think it hurts the quality of life in many ways.”
De Blasio tried to backtrack on his statement during the interview, saying that he is aware of Constitutional protections in place that bar him from implementing a panhandling ban.
While he expressed sympathy for those who are homeless and panhandle as a last resort, he also said, “There are also people out there who are just begging for money and it is not out of dire economic need –and that is frustrating to me.”
The New York City mayor’s position on the subject is somewhat of a departure from his stances on other measures. De Blasio passed measures to decriminalize public urination and drinking in public in 2016.
De Blasio, who spoke to WYNC from Hamburg, Germany, skipped a police swearing-in ceremony for 524 new NYPD recruits to protest President Trump’s meetings with world leaders at the G20 summit.
The mayor also left the city after an NYPD officer was murdered Wednesday in what authorities say was “an unprovoked attack.”