Proving his maxim that he is truly a politician for the people, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on The Daily Show Monday night. De Blasio chatted with host Jon Stewart on a range of issues from plowing snow to universal pre-K, while gingerly eating a slice of pepperoni pizza with his hands. Stewart also shared a Big Gulp soda with de Blasio, but gave the mayor a smaller cup to accentuate his size.
“Oh, you are gigantic,” said Stewart, laughing. “In his hands, it looks like a regular soda.”
When asked about the city’s halt to stop and frisk, de Blasio quipped, “You can’t break the law to enforce the law, as simple as that,” adding that it was racial profiling and not becoming of a democratic society.
“And in the stop and frisk era, we had two different forms of policing, that’s the reality, depending on the color of your skin,” said de Blasio.
Stewart also touched on the controversy over the mayor’s plan for universal pre-k. The mayor said that when he goes to talk with the wealthy about his plan, some of them are resistant and not supportive. But he ultimately plans to push forward with his campaign promise of addressing New York’s “tale of two cities” and core issues of inequality. De Blasio said it’s as simple as giving people hope.
“People need a core hope in our society,” said the mayor. “They need a core amount of visible opportunity. And that’s been slipping away. So if you want to talk about destabilizing realities in our society, talk about inequality.”
The mayor said his critics charge that it’s not possible for a progressive agenda to go hand in hand with a well-run municipal government.
“Progressives can run governments effectively, progressives can be fiscally responsible, progressives can focus on public safety, but we’re going to do it in a way that respects people’s rights.”
The talk also touched on recent complaints over snowplowing on the Upper East Side, and Stewart poked fun the city’s handling of recent snowstorm responses. When the issue of horse-drawn carriages in Manhattan came up, Stewart put de Blasio in the hot seat.
“Will this be your Gitmo?” asked Stewart. “We are in this neighborhood and I hear their plaintive cries.”
“The waterboarding of the horses has to end,” de Blasio joked in response, quickly making a more serious point. “Horses do not belong in the middle of traffic in New York City. They do not belong in an urban environment like this. It’s not safe for them, it’s not fair when you think about what their lives should be and what our society is like.”