NEW YORK CITY — On the day Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will continue his harsh stance against him and his proposed policies because it's the only way to get results.
"I think he respects strength. I think he respects people standing up for what they believe," de Blasio said on the Brian Lehrer show Friday morning.
De Blasio, during the presidential campaign and from the day after the election, has vowed to fight Trump policies such as deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, creating a registry for Muslims and the dismantling the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The mayor gave a major speech at Cooper Union days after the election vowing to protect New Yorkers and not do things such as turn over data from its IDNYC program, which provides identification to undocumented immigrant, to the federal government to assist with deportations.
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"We are not going to turn our police into immigration enforcement agents. That won't happen in New York. We are not going to create a religious registry for our Muslim brothers and sisters. We will not do that, we will not divide people," de Blasio said Monday during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
Some political observers think the mayor is using Trump as a foil for his re-election bid.
But the mayor has said his dissent is about protecting New York City's 8.5 million residents from potentially devastating policies.
"You know, Donald Trump always liked to say he built a movement. Well, now it’s time for us to build our movement," de Blasio said Thursday night at a Columbus Circle protest attended by celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Mark Ruffalo and Rosie Perez.
De Blasio has launched an effort here to get as many people to sign up for Obamacare as possible under the premise that if more people have healthcare it will make it more difficult for Trump and the Republican Congress to dismantle.
Jeanne Zaino, a political science professor at Iona College, said the mayor's strategy makes sense, but also comes with significant risk.
"On the plus side, the mayor is right that Trump says he respects that kind of strength, so going out there publicly is keeping with what Trump responds to," said Zaino. "But I don't understand this blanket 'I'm going to be aggressive' when the end goal is not clear yet. If there was a particular issue such as climate change, it would make sense to stand and say 'I'm completely opposed."
That's the strategy Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to be pursuing, said Zaino. Cuomo has vowed to protect New Yorkers but has been publicly much less confrontational toward the new president. The governor described his meeting with Trump this week as "not adversarial."
"Cuomo will, if an issue comes up he feels citizens of New York will be on the losing end of, fight," Zaino said. "That makes more sense than putting yourself out there to be slapped down."