New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made his bid for the White House official Thursday by touting himself as ready to take on President Donald Trump and income inequality nationally as he has locally.
“There’s plenty of money in this world. There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands,” the progressive Democrat says in a three-minute video posted to YouTube titled “Working People First, Bill de Blasio 2020.”
He followed the message with a live appearance Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America," alongside his wife, Chirlane McCray.
"Working Americans deserve better and I know we can do it," de Blasio said, "because I've done it here in the largest, toughest city in this country."
De Blasio, 58, a Manhattan native but raised in Massachusetts, enters a crowded primary field of nearly two dozen Democrats.
The mayor, a straight white male, must differentiate himself from a pack that includes several other progressives and candidates of color. He has said he leads a diverse city and his race and gender won't matter.
He departed late Thursday for Iowa and Nebraska. He travels next to South Carolina for the weekend.
Trump, a Republican, was quick to tweet a criticism of the two-term mayor.
"He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man," Trump tweeted. "NYC HATES HIM!"
The president later tweeted a video of himself aboard Air Force One facetiously wishing de Blasio "good luck."
"But really you'd be better off if you got back to New York City and did your job," Trump said on the video.
De Blasio also faced a hostile reception outside the ABC studios in Times Square, where he and McCray taped their interview.
Members of the NYPD's rank-and-file officers' union, the Police Benevolent Association, gathered to chant, "Can't run the city! Can't run the country!" Some carried signs that read, "Mayor Bill de Blasio is no friend of labor."
Other demonstrators said the mayor hasn't built enough affordable housing for seniors and held signs that read, "Stop stealing from seniors."
Polling has shown little support for de Blasio's presidential bid at home or across the country. A Quinnipiac University poll last month showed 76 percent of city voters would prefer the mayor not run for the White House. A Monmouth University poll last month showed him with 1 percent support among potential primary voters nationally compared with other Democratic candidates.
"It’s not where you start, it’s where you end," de Blasio said on "Good Morning America."
Indeed, de Blasio was elected mayor in 2013 with a come-from-behind victory, though the top architects of that campaign won't be joining him in his presidential bid.
His former communications strategist Lis Smith and advertising guru John Del Cecato now work for the race's other sitting mayor, Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.
De Blasio focused much of his campaign-launch message on Trump.
"He's trying to convince working Americans he’s on their side. It’s been a lie from Day One," de Blasio said, even borrowing one of Trump's favorite tropes, the disparaging nickname, to assign one to the president — "Con Don."
As leader of New York City, de Blasio said, he has stood up to the president on security funding and immigration.
De Blasio must meet a polling or fundraising threshold to qualify for next month’s Democratic National Committee debates. He said Thursday his campaign was talking with the national party about whether a third poll from Reuters showing him at 1 percent would help qualify him.
In the announcement video, de Blasio lists his accomplishments in the city: raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, implementing paid sick leave and rolling out free universal prekindergarten.
But his scandals and low points have included a toxic-lead-paint crisis in the public housing system and local and state investigations into his fundraising practices.