All that mayor of New York and presidential hopeful Bill de Blasio wanted to do on Monday was to travel by SUV caravan to a home of the current president and lambaste him for the steep emissions emanating from his buildings. But de Blasio’s conference at Trump Tower was derailed when a group of protesters counterprogrammed the mayor’s eight-minute speech by playing surprisingly loud music in the lobby, chanting “you suck” (the jack-of-all-trades of heckling phrases), and holding signs that read “Trump 2020” and “Worst Mayor Ever.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that the event was inundated with protesters, considering that three out of four New Yorkers don’t want the mayor to run for president and he held the speech at the historic capital of Trump World. But de Blasio held his ground: “This is a public space where people are allowed to express their views. In New York City, we’re perfectly tough. If people want to offer their opposition, it doesn’t change me one bit.”
On paper, de Blasio’s speech was meant to promote the NYC Green New Deal and publicize a City Council bill passed in April requiring buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to cut emissions. De Blasio, who has yet to sign the bill, said it’s a symbol of the city’s intention to hold all landlords accountable, “even the president of the United States.” De Blasio called Trump’s eight New York buildings “among the biggest polluters” in the city; they produce the same amount of emissions as 5,800 cars on the road for a year. If Trump doesn’t retrofit his properties, his organization will owe $2.1 million a year starting in 2030, the year Trump turns 84.
But on a more ambitious level, the event serves as a precursor to de Blasio’s formal announcement later this week on whether he will become the 23rd Democrat to enter the party’s primary race. If the speech to put Trump “on notice” was any indication, the campaign rollout could have some remaining bugs. The noise of the protesters, amplified by the lobby’s marble finish, was so loud the mayor had to leave his lectern and have reporters come closer so he could hear their questions, per Politico. Perhaps next time, assuming it ever reliably stops raining, de Blasio could hold the event outside Trump Tower as he’d intended, where he would have to deal with only the usual hellscape of Midtown noise.