It's Official: De Blasio Announces 2020 White House Bid


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- It's official.

After weeks of speculation, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday morning in a video that he will be running for president in 2020. 

The 58-year-old mayor later appeared on "Good Morning America" with his wife Chirlane McCray ahead of trips to Iowa and South Carolina this weekend.

In the interview, the mayor called President Donald Trump "Con Don" and said "he's conned us into thinking that he's on the side of working people, when in fact, he's on the side of the one percent."  

Trump fired back on Twitter calling de Blasio "a joke."The president tweeted that de Blasio is "considered the worst mayor in the U.S." and added "NYC HATES HIM!"

Later on, Trump released a video of himself on Air Force One taking aim at de Blasio.

"I just heard that the worst mayor in the history of New York City, and without question, the worst mayor in the United States is now running for president," Trump said. "It will never happen!"

The mayor was greeted outside the "GMA" studios by police union protesters chanting "Liar" and "Go back to bed" -- a reference to de Blasio's reputation for being late. They are angry that they have not had a new contract despite the fact that New York City is the safest city in America -- which the mayor is touting as part of his presidential platform.

The union has been heckling the mayor for months as he goes to exercise at the YMCA in Park Slope.

PBA First Vice President John Puglissi says as de Blasio gets national exposure, they will be on his tail.

"Wherever he goes, we're gonna start showing up around the country and we're going to let the American people know that this mayor of New York City should not even be considered for president of the United States," said Puglissi, who also did not have kind words about the mayor's chances. "No one's going to take his announcement seriously. They're going to look at it as just a joke. The rest of the country sees what he's really all about so he has no chance in hell of ever becoming president."

Affordable housing advocates also showed up to protest. The Rev. David K. Brawley, co-chair of East Brooklyn Congregations, says de Blasio talks a good game about helping the poor, but doesn't practice what he preaches.

"Under this great tenure in time of prosperity many people are suffering and the plight of our people is not getting any better," Brawley said. "His priorities are all in the wrong place and I think he's being disingenuous."

When asked about the protest, the mayor jokingly called it a "serenade."

The mayor joins a crowded field of 23 other Democrats vying for the White House.

He has made several trips to early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire to promote his record on police reform, early childhood education and other issues. He's seeking to unseat Trump with a record of progressive accomplishments his backers believe will resonate with primary voters. De Blasio is banking on his accomplishments including universal pre-K and raising the minimum wage to set him apart from the other candidates.

RELATED: City Lawmakers Worry About De Blasio’s White House Bid

Most early state voters weren't holding their breath waiting for de Blasio to run for president and that's why Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, says the mayor needs to make a strong impression quickly.

"Because if you haven't done that, it's going to be very easy next winter to be lost in the shuffle," Scala told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell. He believes it makes sense to take on President Trump and gain more visibility. "I think de Blasio is hoping that he can provoke the president into going after him."

Last week when de Blasio teased the announcement, Baruch College political science professor Doug Muzzio told WCBS 880's Rich Lamb that he would not to bet on him to win.

“I don’t think he’s got a chance. I think that the mayor is a legend in his own mind. I don’t see how his analysis has led to the conclusion that he really has a serious chance to win,” Muzzio said.

Still, political consultant Hank Sheinkopf doesn’t see a downside for de Blasio to run.

“The mayor has absolutely nothing to lose if he gets in the presidential race. The expectations are low, no one expects him to win, New Yorkers don't care one way or the other. Could lightning strike? Why not,” he said.

In March, a Marist poll found that among New York’s Democrats, only 25 percent would be happy if the mayor became the Democratic presidential nominee. Meanwhile, 65 percent said they’d be unhappy.

Quinnipiac's poll last month found about three quarters of city voters thought de Blasio should probably stick to his day job, but Marist pollster Lee Miringoff says with 23 other candidates the question morphed from "Why me?" to "Why not me?"

"With such a big crowd everyone is giving him a shot, so right now it's an uphill fight for almost all of them, so, I guess he is going to take his chances with the rest," Miringoff said.

Sheinkopf told WCBS 880's Steve Burns on Thursday, "No one thought he'd be the mayor, no one thought he'd be the public advocate, no one thought he'd manage a major statewide campaign, he did them all. You know what, this is not a guy you laugh at."

While de Blasio has yet to make a dent in any major polls, he has experienced running and winning in a crowded field, pulling away with an upset win in 2013. Other analysts note that campaigning seems to be his favorite part of the job and if nothing else this could help with name recognition and possibly get him another high profile job like a cabinet post.

CBS News correspondent Steven Portnoy notes entering the race gives him national exposure.

"He's well known in the Tri-State area, not as well known in the country. So this offers him an opportunity to reach voters clear across the country who might not be as familiar with this current mayor of New York as they have been with others in the past," Portnoy told WCBS 880. "There's also the possibility of positioning himself for a role in the future democratic administration."

De Blasio seems to be undaunted by naysayers and is brushing off the early polls. 

"I have been in so many elections where the first polls had me way, way back. I won 10 elections in a row. I haven't lost an election. I think that people over the course of a campaign to get to know who you are," de Blasio told reporters during a press conference in Battery Park City on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, many New Yorkers reacted to the mayor's announcement with skepticism.

When asked why she thinks the mayor is jumping in one woman replied, "I have no idea, I guess publicity or his ego is too much." 

"He doesn't have the backing, he doesn't have the support," one man said.

Spiro Seacavaris of Queens, who has a coffee cart in Midtown, says the mayor has made it harder for him to make a living.

"Parking issues, traffic issues, MTA, everything, everything! School closing when there is no snow, you know, the guy's just horrible," he said.

But truck driver Mel Williams says de Blasio should go for it.

"Good for him as long as we get Trump the hell out of there. The cream always rises to the top," Williams said. Asked if de Blasio is the cream he replied, "Maybe. I haven't heard all of his points yet, but we'll see."

De Blasio may not qualify for the first Democratic presidential debate next month. In order to do that, he needs to earn at least one percent in three public polls or receive 65,000 donors from at least 20 states by June 13th.