Transcript: Mayor de Blasio appears on Fox News Sunday

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12 December 2021

Chris Wallace: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is joining us now. Mayor, welcome to Fox News Sunday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thanks a lot, Chris.

Wallace: I want to start with something you said this week, there you are –

Mayor: Even looking back on the tough year 2020, and was one of the toughest years ever for this city – still, New York, the safest of the 20 major cities in this country.

Wallace: But according to the New York Police Department, until last Sunday, six of the seven so-called crimes listed are on the rise this year, including murder, robbery and criminal assault. The only one that is broken are burglaries. Mr. Mayor, you know what Disraeli said about lies, bloody lies and statistics. In fact, doesn’t your city have a serious crime problem?

Mayor: Chris, we have a lot to do. there is no doubt. But let me tell you, first of all, in eight years I was mayor, index crime, major crimes in New York City, down 11% over eight years. And we did it by bringing the police and the community together. So the key is to get over this horrible patch that we had in the COVID era across the country, and to reconnect the police and the community, to get these guns off the streets. And the NYPD has done a fantastic job, the most gun arrests we’ve seen in over two decades. So yeah, there were problems for sure, and more to be done, especially in some parts of town. But I guarantee you this – and our Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said it this week, very clearly – we’re going to get back to where we were before the pandemic and then become safer. And we have been the safest big city in America and we will remain so.

Wallace: But, again, we come to the statistics. Murderers have increased 45% in the past two years. Thefts increased 4.5% last year alone. And I want to take a look, I want you to respond to your Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, and what he said this week about those arrested being allowed without even having to post bail. He’s there.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: When a large number of people are released into the streets and were traditionally imprisoned, you also see some of them soaking up here.

Wallace: When you say New York is America’s safest big city, and I’m sure you can find some stats to prove it, don’t you risk sounding out of touch? I think there are a lot of New Yorkers who don’t feel that way.

Mayor: Chris, listen, we need to make sure that not only are we safe, but people feel safe. There is no doubt that both are important. But look, look around this city right now, this city is booming. We came back strong from COVID. And the bottom line is that there is – in New York today, a much safer city than we were eight years ago. there is no doubt. The two years of COVID have created immense problems. And I agree with Commissioner Shea, there are changes we need in the laws of Albany. We need to get our justice system back to working order, which has not been the case for the past two years. But the NYPD is doing its job and it is doing it with the community. And this is crucial, Chris, this bond between the police and the community got really badly hurt last year. But it’s being mended and healed now and it’s making a difference. We come out of the streets. We will turn the situation around. I have confidence and the NYPD is confident that we will soon return to pre-pandemic levels and then overtake and become even safer. And the statistics show that in most of the city, there are a few places where we are struggling. There is no doubt that we have more work to do, for example, in the Bronx. But in most of New York City, statistics show we’re getting back to pre-pandemic levels and then getting better and better.

Wallace: But Eric Adams, who takes office as mayor on January 1, has run on a tough platform against crime. And one of its main tenants said he was going to restore an anti-crime unit that you disbanded. This is Mr. Adams.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams: It will be a city where we are safe. We are going to have efficient police services that are not heavy. We are going to have our police back, but we are going to hold them accountable for doing their job.

Wallace: When the voters elected Eric Adams – I mean, of all the mayoral candidates, didn’t they, in a sense, reject you?

Mayor: Eric Adams is someone I have worked very closely with, Chris. And it’s pretty well known in New York, I supported and helped him in any way I could to get him elected. And I think he’s going to continue what we started and build on that. He was a police reformer as a police officer. It’s well known. And he thinks we need to improve the relationship between the police and the community as a key to security. This is what we did with the neighborhood police strategy. So, no, I think there is a tremendous amount of continuity. You know, Commissioner Dermot Shea thought we needed to change this unit into civilian clothes. And I agree with him, these officers are now in uniform and they are taking more guns off the streets this year than we have seen in decades. So, I mean, Commissioner Shea had a strategic vision – would that work – and he proved it, and I supported him, and I think that was the right way to go. But I’ll tell you, I think Eric Adams is going to take whatever has been done and take it to the next level of security for the city. I have great confidence in him.

Wallace: Let’s move on to COVID. You have just imposed a new mandate according to which all private companies must vaccinate all their employees by December 27. No exceptions for – well, if you’re not vaccinated, you can get tested regularly instead. Why impose what could be the country’s most dramatic and radical COVID vaccine mandate just four days before you step down?

Mayor: Because my job is to protect New Yorkers. And, look, the bottom line is, we’ve been through the worst crisis in our history. We have lost tens of thousands of people in this city. It was incredibly painful. I have spoken to a lot of New Yorkers who have lost a grandparent, a relative, someone they loved, and I have to keep them safe and every time –

Wallace: But why not – excuse me, sir, why not allow the new mayor who will come four days later to impose this mandate if he wants to do so. You stick it with that.

Mayor: No, every time we put a warrant in place, Chris, it worked. We’re currently 71% of all New Yorkers – all New Yorkers, 71% fully immunized. We run the country. And that’s because we used incentives and warrants. And each mandate that we have put in place has dramatically increased the number of people vaccinated. Since the first warrants in August, we have received over a million additional doses. And that is why the city is open and prosperous. Chris, really, vaccination is about freedom, because it allows people to return to work, to take charge of their lives, to be safe wherever they are – at school, at the workplace. job. It works and that is why we continue to delve into it.

Wallace: This week, New York City became the largest city in the country to allow non-citizens – people who have been in this country legally for as little as 30 days – to vote in municipal elections. Non-citizens to vote, for example, for mayor of New York City in the future – you expressed some concerns about the legality of this law, but you said you are not going to oppose it your veto. Why not?

Mayor: I have mixed feelings. I have been very open about this on this law. And I think there are big legal questions. But I also respect the city council. They made a decision. Look, at the end of the day we have a lot of it – that’s a big problem, of course. But what we just talked about is a central issue, defeating the Omicron variant, defeating COVID, so we can come back to life in the city. This is where I focus.

Wallace: Well, let’s talk about your goal, for the future. There are talks – and you are apparently openly planning to run for governor next year. I want to take a look at this recent poll. Let’s put the numbers. Governor Kathy Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo, now enjoys 36% support. You’re back on the pitch at six percent. And when voters across the state were asked about you, 28% had a favorable opinion, 55% against. Mr. Mayor, do you really have a chance?

Mayor: Chris, that poll you showed, that horse race, that reminds me of pretty much every election I’ve been in. I have been an outsider many times. It’s not where you start, it’s where you end. And elections are a chance to tell people about your vision and what you have done. My vision is that we need to change a lot of things in this state, including helping families. Working families are struggling so much in New York State that they need a lot more help. Parents need a much better situation for their children than they currently have. The school day does not take parents into account. Hours at work, summer is tough for parents. I came up with a plan to change that by asking those who are very successful to pay a little more so that families can have a decent life in New York State. So, I think people are reacting to the ideas, the vision, and the accomplishments, and I’m going to be traveling all over New York State talking to people about that.

Wallace: So in 10 seconds you look like you’re running.

Mayor: Well, I have more to say on this soon. At the moment, for the next few weeks, to finish my mandate as mayor. My goal and my goal, to keep this city safe from the Omicron variant, to transform us – you know, get me away from the COVID era. And again, that’s why a tough, strong approach with warrants is what kept us safe. It is one of the safest places in America for COVID and we intend to keep it that way.

Wallace: Thank you, Mayor of Blasio. Thank you for your time this Sunday. Nice to speak with you, sir.

Mayor: Same here, Chris. Thank you.

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