Bill de Blasio has been the Democratic Mayor of New York City since 2013. Prior to assuming his current office, de Blasio served as the New York City Public Advocate, an elected position first in line to succeed the mayor, and as a city councilman. De Blasio has also worked in New York’s Department of Juvenile Justice and as the campaign manager for Charles Rangel and Hillary Clinton’s successful congressional campaigns. He announced his presidential campaign on YouTube in May 2019.
On the Issues
AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what Bill de Blasio has said on the campaign trail.
For our take on why these are the 12 issues that are most important to our community, read here.
- "Cast my Electoral College vote today. Still sick over a system that rejects the choice of a 2.8 million majority. End the E.C.!" (12/19/2016, Twitter)
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
- "I think there's a deepening concerned about equality in this country and a frustration and anger at income inequality. And we can see that our society is becoming less equal instead of more equal. This [pre-k] is a great equalizer." (3/29/2019, Interview with Nicholas Kristof, accessed on the Website of the City of New York)
Securitization and Surveillance
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- “Willie, this is a horrifying attack in New Zealand and it's causing a lot of pain, a lot of fear in communities here in the United States, including the Muslim community in New York City. It’s a large, proud community, a community that contributes a lot back. We have 900 Muslim officers in the NYPD, for example. So, a community that really gives back a lot in New York City. We're going to be protecting them today. NYPD is going to be out in force in front of mosques, in front of Muslim community locations. I'll be reaching out to Muslim community leaders. It's just like the horrifying attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. You can imagine what a member of any faith feels after they see a house of worship desecrated and made a killing ground. They need to know – the community needs to know they will be protected and embraced. And so you'll see that in New York City today, you'll see a lot of support for our Muslim community and a lot of protection.” (03/15/19, nyc.gov)
- “We are seeing hate crimes towards African American communities, towards the Jewish community, towards the Muslim community, towards to LGBT community. It has has to stop. One of the most powerful tools to ensure that people understand that hate crimes are unacceptable, is when they see that there are real tangible consequence.” (11/10/18, Twitter)
- I am chief executive of the nation's largest city, and I also wanted to just say something quick on the gun issue and come to your question. Look, I run the largest police force in America, too, and if we're going to stop these shootings, we want to get these guns off the street, we have to have a very different relationship between our police and our community. I also want to say there's something that sets me apart from all my colleagues running in this race, and that is, for the last 21 years, I have been raising a black son in America. And I have had to have very, very serious talks with my son, Dante, about how to protect himself on the streets of our city and all over this country, including how to deal with the fact that he has to take special caution because there have been too many tragedies between our young men and our police, too, as we saw recently in Indiana. So we need to have a different conversation in this country about guns, but also a different conversation about policing that brings policing community together. We've done that in New York City and we've driven down crime while we've done it." (6/26/19, The New York Times)
Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use
"The New York Post has done a lot of damage to this city. And it has for a long time been reckless and obviously pursued an ideological agenda in a relentless fashion that doesn’t resemble what we know of mainstream media outlets. It’s so important to acknowledge what so many New Yorkers know, that they are on an ideological mission and they do not follow the same rules that other media outlets do in terms of sourcing stories or fact-checking or requiring objective information. They simply make a lot of stuff up. They have an ax to grind. So I resent that all the time. I resent that when it’s done to New York City in a way that’s hurt the city but I also particularly resent it when they go after innocent people, and that’s why particularly today, going after the commissioner for the Office of People with Disabilities, who is a leading activist on behalf of people with disabilities for decades, and portraying him as some kind of political hack is just unacceptable to me. But it’s really the bigger point. Today was just an example of how personally destructive it can be in the process.... I want to put this in its full perspective. I’m a public servant and I’m used to tough questions and I’m used to criticism and it absolutely goes with the territory. From my perspective, the vast majority of the press are doing their job, asking probing questions, seeking information. But I think there’s a really bright line here. I think there’s a difference between The Post and everyone else when it comes to relentless pursuit of an ideological bias and effectively acting like a propaganda apparatus. I don’t think you can say that about any others. I can disagree with coverage on any given item or disagree with an editorial board, but I don’t think there’s the same kind of consistent, organized, systematic attempt to promote a certain ideological line. I don’t think I’m the first person to feel this by any stretch. I think this has been a broad view in New York City for 20 or 30 years. I think it’s important as the leader of this city to say out loud what so many people already know. And I think, in fact, The Post approach has gotten worse and worse. It’s become even less based in fact or sourcing and more reckless and more destructive. So to me, it just has to be called out." (10/8/2016, The New York Times)
- "You know, he [President Trump] tried to take away our security funding here in New York City early in his administration because we respected the immigrants who are part of the fabric of life in this city. He said we're taking away your security funding. He thought I would cower before that threat. I said there's no way we're changing our approach. We're going to fight you in court. We're going to beat you. We did beat him in court and he backed off at that point. (5/21/2019, CNN)
- DE BLASIO: We have to change the discussion about in this country...because look at the bottom line here. Those tragic -- that tragic photo of those -- that parent, that child -- and I'm saying this as a father. Every American should feel that in their heart, every American should say that is not America, those are not our values. But we have to get under the skin of why we have this crisis in our system, because we're not being honest about the division that's been fomented in this country. The way that American citizens have been told that immigrants somehow created their misery and their pain and their challenges, for all the American citizens out there who feel you're falling behind or feel the American dream is not working for you, the immigrants didn't do that to you. The big corporations did that to you. The 1 percent did that to you. We need to be a party of working people and that includes a party of immigrants but first we have to tell working people in America who are hurting that we are going to be on their side every single time against those big corporations who created this mess to begin with and remind people we are all in this together. If we don’t change that debate, that politics that is holding us back we won’t get all of these reforms that people are talking about. That is what we need to do as Democrats.” (6/26/19, The New York Times)
“I represent half a million people who happen to be undocumented, but they are our neighbors, they work with us in our work places, they’re our friends, they’re our fellow human beings. You know when I’m on the subway or in the supermarket I don’t know who’s documented and who’s undocumented. I do know that we should have laws that provide comprehensive immigration reform and allow everyone who’s here now to have a pathway to stay, and you know, follow the right rules that allow them to stay.
We have a nation that is now in so many ways set against ourselves. We need people to bring their skills and talents here. We need work to be done all over this country that is only happening because there are immigrants here to contribute to our economy. But we can’t seem to work it out. And actually the American people are pretty advanced, un my view, in thinking this through, and they want a solution. They think the Dreamers should be allowed to stay, they believe that we should stop punitive policies like family separation, and they want a lasting immigration reform. And that’s what I would focus on as President. Really following this American majority that wants to settle this issue once and for all and stop this conflict that’s just holding us back. (6/20/19, The New York Times)
NO BAN Act
“Trump’s travel ban is institutionalized Islamophobia, promoted under the guise of national security. Banning people from our country on the basis of religion is an affront to our founding ideals.” (6/26/19, Twitter)
- “President Trump’s latest attempt at a travel ban is as discriminatory as his first one. The ban is a direct reflection of the President’s misguided ideas about immigrants, refugees and homeland security. The intent of this approach is to broadly vilify a Muslim community central to American life and to our security at home and abroad. Undermining this relationship through indiscriminate travel bans – rather than developing immigration screening capable of targeting real threats – endangers an American moral standard of inclusiveness that underpins our security.” (3/6/17, NYC.gov)
“As a progressive, here’s what I see when I’m in Israel. I see a multi-racial democracy. I see universal healthcare, free college, a strong labor movement. You’ve often heard it said that Israel’s America’s closest ally in the Middle East and a great center of innovation, and although that is true, I’m moved by something more than that.” (6/26/19, Israel Palestine News)
“I believe in the state of Israel, and I think that Israel is not only a crucial ally, they’re the one true democracy in the Middle East, and they do respect the rights of all people. There’s always more work to be done, and I’d like to see a two-state solution. I think that’s the best way to move forward for peace and human rights for Israel and for the Palestinian people. I think there’s a lot of work to be done, but it begins with a strong commitment to Israel. Look, as a New Yorker where the ties to Israel are so strong, I’ve been to Israel four times, I’ve spent a lot of time seeing the threats that Israel faces, I firmly believe that we have to defend the state of Israel, and that we have to fight against the movements that would undercut Israel like BDS. But at the same time, I believe the current Israeli government has made a lot of mistakes that have hindered the peace process, and I believe in a two-state solution, I believe that’s where America should put its energy. That’s the best way to address both peace and human rights concerns for Israelis and Palestinians.” (6/20/19, New York Times)
“A two-state solution is the best hope for peace. I challenge anyone who thinks the State of Israel shouldn’t exist. But the same goes for anyone who would deny Palestinians a home. (3/27/19, Twitter)
“As a progressive Democrat and mayor of the most diverse city in the world, let me also say this. I deeply oppose the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. I believe BDS is contrary to the progressive imperative to protect all oppressed people everywhere and always. BDS doesn’t just seek to change a specific policy. It affronts the very notion of Israel as a guaranteed refuge for the Jewish people, and I fear that BDS could undermine the Israeli economy and thus undermine a two-state solution, a solution I believe is key to ending the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis alike, key to bringing peace to the region. So we must confront the threat to progress that is BDS … The way we confront it is every community, every college, every neighborhood, every city, let’s have this debate. Let’s prove that BDS is wrong.” (5/16/19, JNS)
- "General Marks is 100% wrong. Even a “limited strike” against Iran on its own soil would only strengthen a tyrannical regime — and needlessly endanger the lives of our soldiers. Stop this reckless march to war NOW." (6/20/2018, Twitter)
U.S. Presence in the Arab World
- "What about the War Powers Act being a part of that equation? With deep respect to the congressman, look, we've learned painful lessons as Americans that we've gone to war without congressional authorization. And look, this is very personal for me. I know the cost of war. My dad served in the Pacific in World War II in the U.S. Army, Battle of Okinawa, had half his leg blown off, and he came home with scars, both physical and emotional, and he did not recover. He spiraled downward and he ultimately took his own life. And that battle didn't kill him, but that war did. And, look, even in the humanitarian crisis -- and I think we should be ready, Congressman, to intervene, God forbid there is genocide -- but not without congressional approval. Democrats and Republicans both in the Congress have not challenged presidents and have let them get away with running the military without that congressional approval. We learned a lesson in Vietnam we seem to have forgotten, that decisions have to be made by the United States Congress...." (6/26/19, The New York Times)
“Yeah [inaudible] I would say we should be very, very concerned anytime the United States intervenes in another country. And the way that is supposed to go is through a vote of Congress. It’s quite clear in the Constitution. And the history of U.S. military interventions over many, many decades is not a positive one.
But that being said, you know, responding to an act of genocide is a different reality. I don’t think a simple airstrike in response to a nerve gas attack is necessarily a poorly considered idea in the scheme of things. But I think what we have to get back to here is, look, you said in your lead-in, we’ve now entered into the conflict in Syria. I would argue we’ve been in the conflict in Syria in a lot of ways. I would argue that one of the biggest contradictions here is President Trump’s embrace of Russia when Russia is propping up the regime that perpetrated this gas attack.
So, there’s a lot of strands here but the – even though I think there is a time and place for responding to something so inhumane – large – this would go immediately to the Congress if there’s any sense of the President’s part of the larger involvement in Syria.” (4/7/2017, nyc.gov)
- “Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen is brutal and immoral — and we've been complicit. I applaud the Senate for taking a stand.” (03/13/19, Twitter)