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De Blasio renews plea to Trump for more federal funding amid pandemic

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks earlier this

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks earlier this month in Brooklyn.   Credit: Getty Images/Scott Heins

A frustrated Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday again pleaded with President Donald Trump for billions in federal dollars to reboot New York City's economy and ensure first responders are paid amid the coronavirus pandemic.

De Blasio called on Trump to demand Senate Republicans include aid for New York and other cities and states hard hit by the coronavirus in a stimulus package pending before Congress.

“Right now, Donald Trump is not doing anything to help my city back on its feet,” de Blasio said Monday on MSNBC.

Last week, De Blasio said the city — which he estimated could lose more than $7 billion as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — will have to cut $2 billion from its municipal services budget due to the economic downturn caused by social distancing restrictions. He estimated the city will spend $3.5 billion battling the virus. 

“How am I going to pay for basic services?” de Blasio asked in the MSNBC interview. “How am I going to pay for first responders? How am I going to have a restart of my economy if my city is going broke?” 

The mayor, a former Democratic presidential candidate, frequently took shots at Trump during his campaign for the nomination, but has mostly avoided direct confrontations with the president while the city battles a virus that has infected more than 130,000 residents.

De Blasio’s language has become harsher in recent days. 

“President Donald Trump, what’s going on? Cat got your tongue? You’re usually really talkative," the mayor said Sunday during his daily briefing on the pandemic. "You usually have an opinion on everything. How on Earth do you not have an opinion on aid to American cities and states?” 

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The White House press office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The mayor compared Trump on Sunday to President Gerald Ford, who in 1975 vowed to veto federal aid to New York City as it struggled through a financial crisis. Ford’s refusal to bail out the city sparked one of history’s most legendary newspaper headlines. 

“There was that famous Daily News cover that said ‘Ford to City: Drop Dead,’ ” de Blasio said. “So my question is, Mr. Trump, Mr. President, are you going to save New York City or are you telling New York City to drop dead? Which one is it?”

New York and other cities were stiffed in the $2 trillion stimulus package Trump signed last month, de Blasio said during Monday’s briefing. The airline industry received $58 billion as a result of that package, the mayor said, while New York City got just $1.4 billion. 

“When New York City, cities all around the country, states all around the country have been pleading in the middle of a huge budget crisis … you are absolutely silent,” de Blasio said Monday. “I think I may be the first person in history to challenge Donald Trump to speak up.”

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