NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio opened his daily coronavirus briefing with strong words for President Donald Trump, accusing the president of “playing politics while people are suffering.”
The mayor held up an issue of the New York Post, in which the president said bailing out Democratic states, like New York, would be unfair to Republicans.
“I don’t think the Republicans want to be in a position where they bail out states that are, that have been mismanaged over a long period of time,” Trump told the Post.
De Blasio fired back, calling Trump a “former New Yorker who seems to enjoy stabbing his hometown in the back.”
“What kind of human being sees the suffering here and decides that people in New York City don’t deserve help? What kind of person does that?” he said. “Every day President Trump resembles more and more Herbert Hoover, the president who ignored the Great Depression, who didn’t care to put America on its feet, who has been now remembered as someone in history who failed at the most basic responsibility, which is to protect the people he serves.”
The mayor referenced a quote from the article, in which the president said he didn’t think Congress was “inclined to do bailouts.”
“They gave a $58 billion bailout to the airline industry. A few years ago, he gave a $1.5 trillion bailout to big corporations and the wealthy. So who is he kidding?” de Blasio said. “He’s not inclined to do bailouts now – that means he’s not inclined to help firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, police officers, doctors, nurses, health care workers, teachers, sanitation workers.
“All the people who are depending right now on the federal government stepping up and making New York City and New York State – and so many other cities and states – whole, so we can get to business, so we can get back on our feet, so we can lead the recovery.”
De Blasio did, however, credit the federal government with providing free antibody testing for the city’s first responders. That program will be up and running by next week and aims to test 140,000 workers at hospitals, firehouses, police stations and correction facilities.
The mayor also announced a three-part action plan to improve 311 services. The city hired 285 additional people to answer phones, brought in NYPD and FDNY leaders to offer their expertise and created an “express lane” for urgent pandemic-related issues, like food needs.
“The goal here is to have little or no wait time for people who are calling about anything related to this crisis in English or Spanish – and of course, we serve people in many other languages, as well,” he said.
He said 311 can also help small business owners complete their loan applications.