Reverend Al Sharpton: We’re joined now by the Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, let me start with your thoughts when the president talks about sending the feds into cities where there’s been some uptick in violence – in New York, we’ve had several violent incidents and you and your administration have been dealing with them. Do you need the feds? And if he offered them, what would be your response?
Mayor Bill de Blasio: No, Rev. I’ll tell you – if we see federal officers, federal troops on the streets in New York City, then we’re going to see Donald Trump in court because we are not asking for them. We don’t want them here. It’s – actually it would create more danger in this city to have officers who are not prepared for our circumstance come in, and obviously also what scares me Rev is this is very dangerous for our democracy to think about the federal government, basically trying to create a national police force, something this country has never had taking federal troops, sending them into cities and states that don’t want them. That’s just a profound threat to our constitution and our freedoms. So, I think it’s patently unconstitutional and it would be counterproductive – when you look at what’s happening in Portland, it’s creating more violence and more chaos to have those federal officers there.
So, no, we would push back very hard. And you know what, Rev – you know, a lot about what it takes to stop violence in the community, and you are one of the people that early on did things like occupying the corners, bringing community leadership out, bringing the Cure Violence movement out, working with the police. That is the way forward. It is not about bringing in federal troops.
Reverend Sharpton: Now, we have seen several incidents where you’ve been on the scene and others, and as you seen I’ve seen other groups, NAN had started this a while back, occupying the corners, which I think is good working with police on a precinct level, trying to deal with it, and one of the things that is really stunning is the killing of Davell Gardner, a one-year-old young boy in his stroller that was shot by a stray bullet. I’m the doing the funeral services in the morning. His family was at National Action Network with me yesterday, his grandmother, his mother, and the father, and they talked about how you visited them the day after this young baby, one years old was killed by gunfire.
Mayor: Rev, it was so painful. You know, I’ve seen a lot of really troubling things in seven years now as Mayor, but a one-year-old killed on a playground, and when I talked to his mom the next day, I mean the shock and the pain in her face and the tears streaming down her face. I mean, it was like just the clearest, sharpest message to me, to everyone that we have to stop the violence. But it’s also a reminder that we are stop the violence in communities with the people that communities, empowering the people of communities. We’re not going to – you know what? We cannot make the mistake of the past – send in more and more officers without an attempt to actually work with the people whose community it is. We’ve got to create that sense of ownership and respect for communities and, you know, Rev, the vast majority of people in communities all over the city, all over the country, they don’t want violence and they’re willing to do something to stop it, particularly if they can have a respectful relationship with the police. So, when I felt the pain of that family, it just said to me, we got to get it right, and we got to solve it at the grassroots.
Reverend Sharpton: It must be done at the grassroots, and we must deal with the social conditions at the same time. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. Let me ask you about school reopening. We’re seeing in parts of the country people are demanding the schools reopened. Others are saying it is not safe. Many of us being cautious on many things we’re doing in various parts of the city and of the country. When do you think it is safe or do you think it’s safe to reopen schools in New York City?
Mayor: Right now, I do think it’s safe Rev. We’re about six weeks away and we’ve had extraordinary success in New York City over the last month or two pushing back this disease really limiting it. People of New York City have been heroic with the amount of just strength and discipline and helping each other and wearing the masks and social distancing. It’s been absolutely outstanding. So, our health indicators tell us, yes, if we were dealing with the same exact reality today as we are on the first day of school, we would be able to open schools, but with lots of precautions. Social distancing of the schools, everyone wearing face coverings, kids, adults, handwashing stations, hand sanitizer everywhere, a host of precautions, and unfortunately, without the ability to have kids in school five days a week, because we just don’t have the space and Rev, any parent who wants to keep their kid remote, they can do that. We would give them that right, 100 percent. But what we found, an amazing fact Rev, we surveyed the parents of New York City public schools, 400,000 of them answered – that tells you how passionate they are, and 75 percent of those that answered wanted to see school come back. So we owe it to them to do everything we can to make it happen. But the final decision as we get close to opening in September will be based on the health conditions. Are we doing as well as we are now, are we may be even doing better? Or if we’re dealing with new challenges, we got to make a decision based on the actual facts. That thing you never see in Washington, and unfortunately, in some other states in the country decisions based on facts and data, that’s what we’re going to do when it comes to making decisions about the New York City public schools.
Reverend Sharpton: Alright, I’m out of time, but I must ask you one of the things I was talking to Senator Durbin about is, is the monies that people need to get by, and what I did not get to, but you have dealt with in the City of New York is the hunger. We’ve seen millions of people having to be fed and people have rose to the to the occasion of feeding millions of people, and I’m certainly glad that we’ve been part of that at NAN, but I think it’s been an enormous outpouring in the City of New York to help those that really are in a dire need of just basic food.
Mayor: That’s right, and NAN has been a fantastic partner Rev. I thank you, and – but a hundred million meals for free the City of New York has provided our people since beginning of this crisis, a hundred million meals, and that’s also an indicator of just how bad it has become for people with no paycheck, and just how absent the federal government still is in helping people that this one city had to create an effort that large, just to keep people going, but we’re going to do it no matter what it takes.
Reverend Sharpton: All right. Well, I want to thank Reverend Stephen Marshall and Katrina Jefferson for doing their part at NAN, our part. I’ve been up there weekly, but they’ve been up there every day. Thank you. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Mayor: Thank you, Reverend.