By Agence France-Presse
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, seen as a potential Democratic presidential hopeful in 2020, on Monday organized a protest inside Trump Tower, charging that President Donald Trump’s buildings are among the city’s worst polluters.
De Blasio led about 70 demonstrators chanting “our planet is not your profit,” and charged that former developer Trump’s buildings emitted as many greenhouse gases as 5,800 cars each year.
Three weeks after the adopting a law that requires buildings of more than 2,300 m2 to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030, De Blasio looked to be positioning himself at the head of the fight against global warming.
“Clearly, the Trump Organization is a little sensitive to the fact that we’re calling them out for what they are doing to the climate and the way this building is a part of the problem. But we will not back down. We don’t back down in New York City, do we?,” De Blasio asked, stirring the crowd to reply “No.”
“My message to the president is simple –- respect New Yorkers, pay attention to what your own home town is going through, fix your buildings, and while you are at it, fix your policies, rejoin the Paris Agreement, make the United States of America a leader on fighting global warming, not a follower,” the mayor said.
The demo location was beside the same golden escalators where Trump launched his campaign for president in June 2015.
De Blasio said Trump Tower, where the president lived before moving to the White House, could be fined up to $500,000 a year if it does not respect the new law.
Indeed, his eight New York skyscrapers could cost him up to $2.1 million in fines, the mayor said.
At times it was difficult to hear the mayor: his protest was countered by a score of pro-Trump protesters who shouted “This is not my mayor!” and waved banners reading “Trump 2020” and “worst mayor ever” as they went up and down the escalators.
De Blasio said he will announce this week whether he will take part in the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries.
He is not wildly popular in this tough home town; an April poll showed 76 percent of New Yorkers said they did not want him to run for president.