MIDTOWN — Mayor Bill de Blasio said he told President-elect Donald Trump that New Yorkers were fearful of his impending presidency following a nasty election campaign where the Republican nominee made derogatory comments about African-Americans, Muslims, Mexicans and women.
"I tried to express to him how much fear there is in communities all over this city," de Blasio said. "A whole range of people in the biggest city in the country who are fearful about this current dynamic and how we need to see things that will give people more assurance that all New Yorkers and all Americans will be respected."
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After speaking with Trump by phone this week, de Blasio met with the president-elect Wednesday at the heavily fortified Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue between 56 and 57th streets.
The meeting, which started at 10:45 a.m., lasted 62 minutes. More than 30 minutes after the meeting ended, de Blasio strolled out onto Fifth Avenue and addressed the throng of media waiting outside as hundreds of tourists and onlookers watched from across the roadway.
De Blasio said he spoke with Trump about concerns affecting New Yorkers such as Trump's proposal to deport undocumented immigrants and to bar Muslims from entering the country.
The mayor pointed out that 900 members of the NYPD are Muslim-American and that the proposal would create a rift with the public that police are trying to protect.
"I told him that we were very concerned that we had to show all New Yorkers, including Muslim New Yorkers, that they were welcome and that exclusionary policies would undermine our ability to create unity," said de Blasio.
"Exclusionary policies would undermine our ability to create a dynamic where everyone felt a part of this community equally, ready to work to protect each other, ready to work with law enforcement for the good of all," the mayor added.
De Blasio also expressed concerns that a Trump proposal to eliminate Dodd-Frank Wall Street regulations would threaten the "economic security of New Yorkers and of millions and millions of Americans," while placing the health of the economy "in peril again."
Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, both of which Trump has proposed, would "make impossible" the infrastructure investments that New York City and others cities and states need, added the mayor.
De Blasio said he also discussed Trump's remarks that stop-and-frisk is a helpful tool to help restore "law and order" to cities around the country.
"I tried to provide perspective on how stop-and-frisk can create a wedge between police and community when it was used in an unconstitutional manner — it was overused — and how since we changed that policy the city had gotten safer," said de Blasio. "That we knew we were never going back to that policy."
De Blasio and Trump have no love lost between them.
The mayor, as a surrogate for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, said Trump was unfit to be president and has called him a "racist" on multiple occasions.
"I didn't know this was in question," de Blasio tweeted in March.
After Trump's victory, the mayor warned the president-elect that the city would not tolerate racist and discriminatory policies.
De Blasio said the White House had connections to "White supremacists" after Trump named his campaign CEO Steve Bannon as a senior adviser.
Bannon is connected with the "alt-right," a movement that the Southern Poverty Law Center says rejects mainstream conservatism but promotes white nationalism, among other controversial ideas.
The mayor has also began using Trump as a foil in his re-election campaign, warning the sanitation workers' union which endorsed him Monday that Washington may turn against labor unions.
Trump has called de Blasio the "worst" mayor New York City has ever had.
But there was no name-calling during Wednesday's meeting, said the mayor.
"This was a respectful meeting, and a substantive meeting, and a very candid meeting," said de Blasio who said it should not be described as him "lecturing" Trump but that there was a lot of "give and take."
"I told him what I believed and I told him what I was hearing from my fellow New Yorkers," the mayor added.
De Blasio refused to characterize Trump's responses to his concerns, but said that his job as mayor "is to work with the president-elect," while looking out for needs of New York City residents.
"I want to respect the president-elect. He’ll choose to say whatever he chooses to say. I expressed to him that I knew we had very real philosophical differences, but that I was ready to work on these issues and to represent the needs of the people of New York City," said de Blasio.
One area where de Blasio expressed hope that he could work with Trump on was infrastructure. Trump has proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure fund that would be financed by selling bonds to investors.
"I can simultaneously have my own beliefs and my own concerns, but be ready to work with the President-elect on the issue of infrastructure because it would have a hugely positive impact on millions of New Yorkers, and hopefully put a lot of people back to work," said de Blasio.
The mayor said the meeting ended "with the door open for more dialogue" but also with the understanding that de Blasio would not hold his tongue on critical issues.
"I reiterated to the president-elect that I would be open minded as we continue substantive discussions, but I would also be vigilant," said de Blasio. "And I would be swift to react anytime an action is taken that will undermine the people of New York City."