He's Running: Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces 2020 Presidential Bid

by | May 16, 2019 AT 8:17 AM

By Anna Sanders

Mayor de Blasio finally found a job he actually wants -- in the White House.

Hizzoner announced he's running for president on Thursday in a YouTube video full of digs aimed at President Trump.

"Don't back down in the face of a bully -- confront him, take him on," de Blasio said.

"As President I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big corporations. I will not rest until this government serves working people. As mayor of the largest city in America I've done just that. Donald Trump must be stopped. I've beaten him before and I will do it again."

The video concluded with campaign's slogan: "Working people first."

He's slated to appear later Thursday morning on "Good Morning America" with First Lady Chirlane McCray before hitting the campaign trail in Iowa and South Carolina.

De Blasio has been flirting with a White House bid for half a year, laying the groundwork for a 2020 campaign over the last few months. He's already traveled to key early voting states and moved City Hall staff to work for the federal political action committee that has been bankrolling the effort until now.

He's entering a crowded field with more than 20 other Democratic candidates, equipped with relatively poor showings in polls nationally and across the five boroughs. De Blasio may not even qualify for the first debates, which will be capped at 20 participants spread over two nights.

The mayor plans to travel to Iowa and South Carolina this weekend to kick off the campaign.

The mayor's Fairness PAC already polled potential Iowa caucus-goers and paid for de Blasio's recent trips to Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he stumped in front of scanty crowds.

A spokeswoman refused to say if the Fairness PAC is paying for this weekend's trip or if the bill will be covered by de Blasio's candidate committee, which was not set up as of Wednesday, according to federal filings. The Fairness PAC raised $470,427 and spent $444,466 between July and December of last year.

De Blasio doesn't plan to step down while he's running. First deputy mayor Dean Fuleihan becomes acting mayor when he's out of the city. If de Blasio is away from the five boroughs for more than nine consecutive days, new Public Advocate Jumaane Williams would take over under the City Charter.

The mayor has insisted he can run the city while running for president. But he faces of litany of pressing issues back home.

Traffic congestion in the city is worsening. The departmental trial for NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo only just began this week, more than four years after he put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold during an arrest attempt on Staten Island.

Homelessness reached a record-breaking 63,839 men, women and children in city shelters this January, according to a report released last month. Homelessness is on track to increase by 5,000 people by 2022 -- 7,500 more than de Blasio predicted when he released a plan to address the problem two years ago.

The city finally revealed last year that hundreds of kids living in public housing have been tainted by lead -- and de Blasio and federal officials have yet to name someone to lead the New York City Housing Authority. The shakeup was required under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after federal prosecutors sued City Hall for lying about doing mandated lead checks and covering up the extent of the problem, as well as substandard living conditions due to mold and other hazards.

And a debate over segregation in city schools -- particularly specialized high schools -- rages on with little end in sight. De Blasio also ended his signature, $773 million "Renewal" plan to help 94 struggling schools this past February after many of them fell short of improvements the city had hoped for in recent years.

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