New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ended months of speculation Thursday when he officially announced his candidacy to be the Democratic challenger to U.S. President Donald Trump.
The mayor now becomes the 23 Democrat seeking the party’s nod.
“I’ve known Trump’s a bully for a long time. This is not news to me or anybody here, and I know how to take him on,” de Blasio said in a video announcing his bid. “Don’t back down in the face of a bully. Confront him. Take him on.”
De Blasio has been the mayor of America’s largest city since 2014, leading New York City even as his popularity amongst the left-wing of the Democratic Party has faded during his tenure.
He continued his blitz against the president during an appearance on morning television show Good Morning America, adopting the president’s favorite strategy of brandishing his opponents with unflattering nicknames by dubbing Trump “Con Don.”
“Every New Yorker knows he’s a con artist,” said de Blasio, who governs the city Trump made his fortune in. “He’s trying to convince working Americans he’s on their side. It’s been a lie from day one.”
Not one to sit on the sidelines, Trump quickly retorted on Twitter, calling de Blasio “a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man,” and alleging he is “considered the worst mayor in the U.S.”
“The Dems are getting another beauty to join their group,” Trump said.
A recent poll from Quinnipiac University showed 76% of city voters think de Blasio should not run, but he has remained unfazed by the apparent popular opposition. Part of that poll indicated the sentiment holds throughout the city’s five boroughs regardless of party, gender and age group.
“I got elected mayor by 73 percent of the vote originally, re-elected with 67 percent of the vote,” de Blasio said when asked about the poll on Good Morning America. “I think about polling in general it’s not about where you start. It’s where you end.”