by WorldTribune Staff, March 26, 2020
On March 22, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told NBC News that he asked President Donald Trump to mobilize the military to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the city. He suggested that if Trump doesn’t act immediately, then “people will die who could have lived otherwise.”
On March 14, the mayor told MSNBC’s Joy Reid that COVID-19 is a “war-like situation … We’re in a wartime scenario with a Mar-a-Lago attitude being used by the federal government.”
Just two weeks earlier, however, de Blasio had downplayed the impact of the coronavirus in the Big Apple.
“I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus,” the Democrat told his Twitter followers on March 3.
De Blasio offered some suggestions for what New Yorkers should do instead of social distancing.
“I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see ‘The Traitor’ “, he said, referring to a 2019 crime drama about the life and times of a Mafia mob boss.
The Daily Caller noted in a March 25 report that state officials had been preparing for impacts from the coronavirus long before de Blasio’s March 3 comment.
“Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, for instance, declared a state of emergency on Feb. 29, directing state agencies to use all resources necessary to address the fallout,” the report said.
As of Thursday morning, there were more than 20,000 confirmed cases of coranavirus in New York City.
“The mayor was in no way downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus. At that time, New York City had very few cases and the guidance coming from both the federal government and the state was different. No one is taking this more seriously than our mayor and the people of this city. It’s inaccurate to suggest otherwise,” de Blasio spokesperson Freddi Goldstein said.
Meanwhile, de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday. Cuomo said the bill would be “terrible for the state of New York,” and de Blasio called the deal “immoral” for allocating only $1 billion to the city.
New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer sees things differently, saying the stimulus, which will send $3.1 billion to the New York State government and $3.8 billion to the MTA, is “very, very good for New York.” When all the benefits come through, Schumer said, the bill will provide $100 billion in relief for the state.
Both the state and New York City are projecting large revenue decreases. State revenue could fall by as much as $15 billion, while de Blasio has asked city agencies to identify at least $1.3 billion that could be cut from the city budget due to lost revenue.