USCM President Mayor Mitch Landrieu Statement on Cancelling White House Meeting with President Trump

Washington, DC – Please attribute the following statement to U.S. Conference of Mayors President Mitch Landrieu:

“Many mayors of both parties were looking forward to visiting the White House today to speak about infrastructure and other issues of pressing importance to the 82 percent of Americans who call cities home. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again – and use cities as political props in the process – has made this meeting untenable.

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is proud to be a bipartisan organization. But an attack on mayors who lead welcoming cities is an attack on everyone in our conference.

“When the President is prepared to engage in an honest conversation about the future of our shared constituencies, we will be honored to join him. Until that time, mayors of both parties will work together to keep our cities safe, hold this administration accountable to its promises, and protect immigrant communities – with or without Washington’s help.”

Office of the Mayor of the City of New York
January 24, 2018

Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Everybody good? Okay. I came here to Washington this afternoon in good faith, expecting a serious and bipartisan dialog at the White House regarding the infrastructure challenges facing our city and our country. I came here on behalf of 8.5 million New Yorkers to have a real conversation. What I confronted was something very, very different, and it all has to do with this press release that was put out by the Department of Justice this morning, the very morning that this meeting was supposed to occur, with no warning whatsoever.

This press release refers to a program the federal government sponsors called the Edward Byrne Grant program. Let me explain what that means to New Yorkers – this grant program is named after Eddie Byrne – Police Officer Eddie Byrne – a member of the NYPD who was murdered 30 years ago while in the line of duty. He was murdered because he was protecting an immigrant who had come forward to the police and testified against criminals. An immigrant New Yorker put his own life on the line to help our criminal justice system who had been threatened and had police protection. Eddie Byrne was that police officer protecting him that night, and he was killed by those very same criminals. This grant program was named for him to honor what our officers do and to honor the fact that our federal government has to support cities in keeping us safe.

Now, New York City is the safest big city in America. We're very proud of this fact – the safest big city in America – something we've worked on for decades to achieve. We achieved it by working with all communities, including our immigrant communities. Our police force is dedicated to building bonds with immigrant New Yorkers. This is the only way we stay safe. We had a reduction in crime in the last year that literally has taken us to the levels we had back in the 1950s. We had the fewest murders in New York City last year that we had had since 1951. This was a result of our police force believing in building a partnership with all New Yorkers, including millions of New Yorkers who come from immigrant backgrounds. And our police force, for decades, in both Democratic and Republican administrations, has refused to ask New Yorkers their documentation status when encountering them. And this is one of the reasons immigrant New Yorkers trust the police and will come forward to the police. God forbid they've been a victim of crime or they're a witness to a crime, immigrant New Yorkers, documented and undocumented feel safe going to the police and working with them, and we will never let that change.

A year ago, the Trump administration threatened our funding and we made very clear that that threat was unconstitutional. When the immigration executive order came out, it was aimed at the heart of law enforcement in cities all across America. And my police commissioner said at the time, that we would never allow a federal policy to compromise our abilities to keep our people safe. We made very clear that the executive order was unconstitutional and if the Trump administration wanted to try us, we would meet them in court and beat them there, because we knew in 2012 Justice Roberts – the Chief Justice – issued an opinion that said the federal government cannot hold funding hostage because of the ideological preferences of any administration. So, we've been fighting this battle. But look, while we've made out city safer and safer, while we've created an atmosphere of police and neighborhoods can work together, this administration has been trying to undermine those efforts.

So, why does this matter so much today? Because the very day where we were told there would be a good-faith dialog, a bipartisan dialog on a crucial issue – infrastructure – that's the day they decided to single out a group of America cities and, once again, threaten them. This letter explicitly threatens our funding once again, threatens to subpoena our personnel on the very day where in principal they were telling us they wanted to have an honest dialog. This proves there was no intention to have an honest dialog. I came down here ready to have a serious meeting, and what I got was a publicity stunt from the Trump administration. And it just proves once again that they're not trying to work with America's cities, because, if they were, it's the first time in a year President Trump invited America's mayors to come a meet with him. And here's what he did to a group of mayors – he said, come over to my house but I'm going to take your wallet while you're there. It's an immediate affront that showed bad will.

So, look, it's astounding to me that this opportunity was undermined by the President and his administration, because if he's serious about his infrastructure plan, he should want to have mayors working with him. But, for so many mayors today, it was a slap in the face to our cities and our people, and a lot of mayor, even if they weren't one of the ones listed in this letter – a lot of mayors felt it was a slap in the face to the entire U.S. Conference of Mayors and were unwilling to meet under those circumstances. That's what happened today. I'm really sorry to tell you all this because this is not what I expected, and this is not what I think any of us as mayors think is normal, and this is not what the American people should think is normal.

With that, I want to welcome your questions –

Question: Have you gotten any response from the Trump administration?

Mayor: There was some kind of press statement, I believe, put out. But again, this has been incoherent. Originally, when the meeting was called, some mayors were invited, others weren't, and it was not clear. I know I was not on the original invitation list. And, you know, from my point of view, if you're not going to invite to a meeting, you don't invite me to a meeting. Then, they invite and do this the very same morning. So, I mean, the whole approach has been incoherent, but I have not heard any response that makes any sense.

Question: This is the White House response – earlier today, the press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said, the White House has been very clear, we don't support sanctuary cities. If the mayors have a problem with that, they should talk to Congress, the people who pass the laws. What is your response to that?

Mayor: Then they're simply trying to demonize immigrants as part of their current congressional strategy. That's what that says to me, if that's the game they're playing. So, why – if they say they wanted to have a meeting with mayors and you've literally got the vast majority of the mayors in this country – of the biggest cities in this country, right here for this week only – they really wanted to have that meeting – then why play that game in the middle of it? If this is about their efforts to divide and play racial politics, then, again, they were never serious about the meeting to begin with.

Question: What [inaudible] boycott [inaudible]

Mayor: You can't even call it that because we came here to have a meeting. And again, our cities were affronted purposefully the very same morning. You know, it reminds me when Senator Durbin and Senator Graham went to have a serious conversation about a compromise on the immigration issue, and that was the meeting where Trump used horrible, derogatory language towards other nations of the world, and people were outraged – it was a purposeful effort to divide and somehow to destroy what would have been a productive effort at compromise and consensus. Here were mayors – a lot of us don't agree with Donald Trump, but we were willing to go and try and have a dialog on infrastructure – why is that the day they single out a group of American cities and, once again, threaten our funding. It makes no sense.

Question: [Inaudible] telling President Trump what you're telling us now had you gone to the meeting?

Mayor: If there had not been this obviously premeditated attack on these cities, I would have gone to the meeting. If the meeting was actually a dialog about infrastructure, here's what I would have said – I would have said, President Trump, you said on the campaign you wanted a billion – excuse me, a trillion-dollar effort. On the campaign trail, President Trump repeatedly said he wanted a trillion-dollar infrastructure effort. I would say, let's do that. Show us that plan. Show us the money and let's get to work. What we've seen so far – the leaks that have come out about the infrastructure plan – it sounds like a plan to help financiers and the private sector. It sounds like a lot less than a trillion dollars. It sounds like something that's not going to work any time soon. So, I would have challenged him. I'd say, live up to your original vision – put a trillion dollars in federal money on the table. Let's get to work. That's what I would have said to him.

Question: [Inaudible] relationship with President Trump – you haven't spoken to him very much during his administration. Tell me a little bit about your relationship.

Mayor: Look, I met with the then-president-elect days after the election. I attempted to have a dialog. I had seen any follow-through on that dialog from the beginning. A lot of us hoped we would see some honest moderation when he took office – we saw the exact opposite. I have not had any consistent dealings with him since. I have met, however, with numerous members of his administration. And when I've met with the members of his administration, we have had a serious and substantial dialog, which at least gave me hope that this invitation was a real invitation to dialog on infrastructure. Again, it makes no sense to me. If I was inviting someone to come meet me, I would not attack them and their city that same morning.

Question: [Inaudible] you know, about infrastructure now? By sitting this out, what are you going to do about your crumbling roads –

Mayor: We obviously are going to fight for huge federal investment in infrastructure. I worked on this several years ago with Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate. We actually got a real increase in the Highway Bill because Democratic and Republican mayors got together and pushed the Congress, and we actually found some success. I'm going to go work with the Congress and try and get the changes we need. But if the administration doesn't want to have a serious dialog, we'll keep working in New York City to fix our own infrastructure and we'll work with the Congress.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I wonder if you think you could accomplish more for New York City by being inside the tent than outside the tent?

Mayor: Obviously, Marcia, whenever there's a real dialog, you want to be in the room trying to have an impact on the policies. But this, clearly, was not going to be a real dialog. Again, no one invites someone to a meeting and attacks their city the same morning. It does not make sense.

Question: So, are you saying that this was premeditated? That he knew he was going to do this –

Mayor: This went out – I don't know what he personally knew, but I know his administration did something premeditated because this went out first thing in the morning, and this is from the Department of Justice, and we can safely say what Jeff Sessions does is clearly a leading edge of the entire administration. So, they did this this morning. They could have done it on any other day – they chose the morning – the very first and only time they've invited Americas mayors to come to the White House, they attack literally a list of American cities and say they're going to take away our funding.

Question: So, when you saw it, what did you think? What did you do?

Mayor: I was shocked. It made no sense that this was happening and I immediately believed it suggested the whole thing was a charade, and I heard that a number of my other colleagues had the same response, had decided – the mayors of New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles had decided they could not go to the meeting under this circumstance, and I joined them.

Question: How many mayors didn't go?

Mayor: We don't know yet. We have to find out.

Question: Mayor [inaudible] and also how much money are we talking about?

Mayor: Look, if you're talking about the Byrne grants and the other federal funding – this money goes to fight terrorism and to provide our police with support for day-today crime fighting. The cuts that have been proposed are, at minimum, in the tens of millions of dollars and would have a very serious impact on our efforts. What's shocking is we're the safest big city in America, our crime fighting efforts are working, you would think the federal government would say, how can we help you do even more? Not, how can we take away from you? We're also the number-one terror target in America, and this money, in-part, supports our anti-terrorism efforts. So, it's appalling to me that they would think about defunding the finest police force in the United States of America. And I said – this is one thing – when I did have an opportunity to have a dialog the then-president-elect – I said, on this issue of how police work with immigrants, please talk to the police chiefs of this country. If you don't want to talk to the politicians, I can understand that, but talk to Commissioner Jimmy O'Neill. Ask him what's the best way to keep communities safe, and he will say by showing respect for immigrant communities.

Question: Are you willing [inaudible] arrested [inaudible] sanctuary cities –

Mayor: I think if they attempt to take away our funding, we will go to court immediately. We said this last year – if they attempt to take away our funding for the NYPD, we will go to court and we will prove their actions are unconstitutional.

Unknown: Last question –

Question: [Inaudible] in documents today revealed that he pleaded guilty to bribing Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, and the unnamed New York City official. I was wondering if you knew who the unnamed official was, or if he's way in, or if your office has –

Mayor: I don't know anything about that specifically. I only heard about Nassau.

Thanks, everyone.
The White House


East Room

January 24, 2018

3:37 P.M. EST
     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  What a group.  Some great friends, great mayors.  Please sit down.
     We have really hardworking, brilliant people in this room.  I know so much about being a mayor.
We have a very good friend of mine, Dane Maxwell.  Where's Dane?  Dane.  Stand up, Dane.  We've been together a long time, Dane, a long time.  And thank you very much for being here.  It's a great place -- that Mississippi is special.  We had a good time on November 8th in Mississippi, right?
And Betsy Price.  Betsy?  Thank you, Betsy.  Thank you for being here, very much.  Really, two fantastic friends of mine for a long time.
Toni Harp.  Where's Toni?  Toni?  Toni?  Uh oh, can't be a sanctuary city person, I know.  (Laughter.)  That's not possible, is it?
Well, I want to just say -- I mean, we'll start by saying that, as you know, the Department of Justice, today, has announced a critical legal step to hold accountable sanctuary cities that violate federal law and free criminal aliens back into our communities.
We can't have that.  Can't have it.  It would be very easy to go the other way, but we can't have it.  We want a safe country, and it's getting safer all the time.
Sanctuary cities are the best friend of gangs and cartels, like MS-13.  You know that.  The result in the death rate around sanctuary cities -- in and around -- for innocent Americans is unacceptable.  Take a look at what happened in San Francisco and Kate Steinle, and countless others.
My administration is committed to protecting innocent Americans and the mayors who choose to boycott this event have put the needs of criminal illegal immigrants over law-abiding Americans.  But let me tell you, the vast majority of people showed up.  Okay?  The vast majority.  Because the vast majority believe in safety for your city.  (Applause.)
I want to thank all of you for being here.  I'm thrilled to welcome dozens of mayors from across the country to the White House.  And I've worked with so many of you, some in the private sector.  Who knew I was going to be here?  (Laughter.)
But it happened.  Right, Kellyanne?  My star, Kellyanne.  Stand up, Kellyanne.  She's more famous than I am.  (Applause.)  Good.  Thanks, Kellyanne.  Great.
You bring safety, prosperity, and hope to our citizens.  My administration will always support local government and listen to leaders who know their communities best.  And you know your community best.
We believe in local government.  We believe in empowering each and every one of you.  Together, we are achieving absolutely incredible results.
We have created nearly 2.4 million jobs since the election.  Nobody thought that was going to be happening, right?  (Applause.)
The unemployment rate is at, now, an 18-year low.  African American unemployment -- I'm very proud of this.  Remember, I used to say, "What do you have to lose?"  And people said, "I don't know if that's a nice thing to say."  I said, "Of course it is.  For 100 years, the Democratic mayors have done a terrible -- I mean, they've done some bad work."  I said, "What did you have to lose?"  African American unemployment is at its lowest rate ever recorded.  (Applause.)  That’s not bad.
Unemployment for women is at its lowest rate in 17 years, and that’s going to be a very new standard very soon.  (Applause.)
And Hispanic American unemployment, like African American unemployment, is at the lowest rate ever recorded.  That’s a long time.  (Applause.)
And here’s the good news:  it’s getting better.  It’s going to get better.  We’ve cut more regulations than any administration in history, by far.  And we’ve been really doing the cutting for about 10 months, even though we’ve been here now for 12.  We started a little bit late.  Although, the first day we did some pretty big cutting, I will say.
And as you know, just before Christmas, we passed massive tax cuts and reform so that more businesses will come back to your cities and towns, and working families will finally get the pay raises that they’ve been waiting for many, many years, in some cases.  (Applause.)
Our tax plan also creates opportunities -- and some of you are taking advantage of that -- to encourage investment in distressed communities, create more jobs, and bring Main Street booming back to life.
More than two million American workers have already received tax cut bonuses from their employers all because of our incredible tax cut bill.  And I must tell you, this has worked far greater -- because nobody thought in terms of the companies coming out and paying $1,000; and $2,000; and $2,500 per employee.  They have hundreds of thousands of employees in some cases.
And the ones that aren’t getting it are getting it because they’re going, “What about us?”  Now they’re at a point, they’re saying, “What about us?”  We know that feeling.  So it’s really turned out -- nobody thought that.
As much as we thought -- and as much as we had a lot of brilliant minds around that tax bill, nobody really thought in terms of would a company step up.  And it started -- AT&T started it.  And then a couple of others picked it up very quickly -- Comcast and some others, they picked it up.  And then it became an avalanche.
And Kellyanne, we never used to talk about that because it wasn’t really in the realm of thinking.  And it’s turned out to be, really, an avalanche.  And it’s been a beautiful thing to watch.  People are walking away with $1,000 and $2,000, and much more.
We’re also working to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure by stimulating a $1 trillion investment, and that will actually, probably, end up being about $1.7 trillion.  (Applause.)
Oh, you like that?  I can tell we have mayors in the room.  That's good.  That's good.  Only mayors could be that excited.  Only the mayors and the workers -- it's about jobs, right -- could be that excited.
No, and we'll probably be putting that in a week or two, right after the State of the Union Address.  We'll be talking about it a little bit in the State of the Union; we'll put that in.
     One of the other things, I have to say -- Apple -- a $350 billion investment.  And I spoke to Tim Cook.  And you probably you heard me on the trail -- I'll say, "I will not consider this job complete and great, in terms of economics and the economy, unless Apple someday starts building some plants in our country."  And what happened is they said, $350 billion.
     And when I first heard it -- Tim Cook and I spoke.  But when I first heard it, I said, "I guess they mean $350 million" -- because that's a big plant.  You know, $350 million, you can build a lot of plant.  But they said, "No, sir, $350 billion."  And much of that comes from overseas.  They're going to bring it back because of the tax bill because we made it possible for them to bring it back.  (Applause.)
And they're investing a lot of money over and above that.  So it's $350 billion and thousands and thousands of new jobs.  They're going to build an incredible campus.  It's going to be something special.
But we worked with Congress to cut down the approval and permitting process so that it takes no longer than 2 years, instead of, on average, 10 to 12 to 17 years to build a simple road.  (Applause.)

A road in a certain location -- I won't mention the state, although I happen to like the state very much -- it's been under approval 17 years.  They've been planning it for 17 years, and it was a straight -- nothing -- road.  Now it's got lots of curves because we have to miss the nests and everything else.  And curves aren't good on roads.  You know, roads are, like, straight.  And it was, 17 years ago, going to cost virtually nothing, and it ends up being hundreds of millions of dollars.  And it was recently completed, and everyone goes, "You have to be kidding."
So we're going to bring that 10-year process -- that's an average.  I think it's actually much higher than that.  We're going to bring that down to, we say, less than two years, but I'd like to be able to average about one year.
And you'll let them know.  If we don't want a highway, if we don't want something built, you're going to let them know quickly.  But at least they won't be waiting 17 -- because a lot of times, you'll wait 17 years and you'll get rejected.  That's even worse.  If you're the builder, that's not good.  You devoted a good part of your life to doing something and get rejected.  That's really unfair.
So you may get rejected, but you're going to get rejected quickly, okay?  That's not bad.  (Laughter.)
But mostly, you're going to get -- you saw what we did with the pipelines -- 48,000 jobs, immediately.  As soon as I came to the office, we approved it -- 48,000 jobs.
     We're partnering with the state and local governments, like yours, to find the most innovative ways to rebuild our roads, bridges, waterways, and airports.  Very important words: on time and under budget.  Have you heard those words before?  (Applause.)  You don't hear them too much in government, right?
And a lot of that is the bidding process, and you'll take care of your bidding processes.  But the bidding process is a very big factor in that.  Some of the way they bid in cities and states -- and, I can tell you, in our military -- I mean, the process -- it's not even bidding, really.  You give somebody a contract to steal, and we don't want to do that.
We're supporting our local police beyond what we've ever done.  (Applause.)  Great.  And fire departments.  We're also getting you a lot of our excess military equipment; you know all about that.  Previous administrations -- but in particular, "-on"  -- the previous administration, "-on" -- they didn't like to do that, and someday they'll explain why.  But we had a lot of excess military equipment; we're sending it to your police as they need it.  And it's made a tremendous difference.
We believe every child deserves to live in a safe home, attend a great school, and look forward to an amazing and very, very safe future.  (Applause.)  So you're getting a lot of equipment.    
And together -- just in summing up -- we are restoring pride in the American worker and faith in the American Dream.  People are dreaming again.  It's been a tremendous thing.  They're especially dreaming when they open up their 401(k)s, and they see that they're up 44 percent, okay?  (Applause.)  And they feel very brilliant about their investment strategy.
I told you the story, but I've said it numerous times -- I like to tell it -- about people, they come to me all the time and they say, "Thank you so much.  I'm up 42 percent.  I'm up 48 percent.  I'm up 37 percent.  And my wife or my husband thinks I'm totally genius as an investor."  (Laughter.)  I said, "Don't worry about it, just keep it."
And I will say this, if the wrong person came into this office, you wouldn't only be even and you wouldn't be up -- I think it's now 42.5 percent, and the markets up again, but 42.5 percent since election -- you would be down 30 to 40 percent.
And that's what was happening.  You take a look at your GDP then and take a look at what's happened now.  We'll have three quarters in a row over 3[percent].  We had 3.2, and a lot of people thought it would take two or three years to get there.  And we're going to be hitting 4 soon, and then we're going to be hitting 5's.  And you're going to see a big difference.  (Applause.)
     And each point, remember this -- so you go up, people say, "Oh, what's the big deal between 2.5 and 3.5?"  Well, I'll tell you.  You were below 2 -- you had the slowest recovery in history.  Slowest recovery in history.  And if you take a look at the average, I think it was 1.7 or 1.8 for eight years.  The one point means $2.5 trillion.  Think of that.  One point -- $2.5 trillion -- and it means 10 million jobs.  Other than that, it's not a big deal, okay?  (Laughter.)
     But it's -- literally, it's $2.5 trillion to the country.  We've gained in market value, in the stock market, $8 trillion since Election Day.  I mean, that's something that's pretty amazing -- $8 trillion.  And set every record in doing it.  Most days, where we had new records -- you know, our stock market, I think, since election, it was 82 or 84 times where we set a new record for the stock market.
And it's going to continue, folks, because we have a long way to go.  We have, actually, a lot of regulation-cutting to do.  And we want regulation.  You know better than anybody we need regulation.  But you don’t need 17 different approvals from 17 different agencies on the same subject.  And we're doing that, and it's really been beautiful to watch.
But we actually have a long way to go, believe it or not, because we've gotten great credit for regulations.  I think the regulations may be almost as important as the tax cuts.  And I have some businesses that have called me and they say, "We love the tax cuts.  We're going to spend a lot of money.  But, sir, we think the regulation-cutting that you've done might even be more important."  And I'm sure you're seeing that too, or you're seeing something like that.
So I want to thank you all for joining us in this great national effort.  Thank you for your leadership -- you truly are great leaders and important leaders -- friendship and partnership.  And together, we will usher in a very bold, new era of peace and prosperity.
We're doing great.  I'm going Davos right now to get people to invest in the United States.  I'm going to say, "Come into the United States, you have plenty of money."  But I don’t think I have to go, because they're coming -- they're coming at a very fast clip.
So it's going to be an interesting time.  But they're coming back to this country.  You saw that we have Chrysler leaving Mexico -- we like Mexico -- and coming into Michigan.  We like that?  Nobody has seen in a long time.  (Applause.)
And we other major car companies.  You saw Toyota and so many others; they're coming back into the United States, and they're building big plants.  And that -- all it means to me is money for our people, lower taxes.  And what it really means is jobs.
So, people have not seen this in decades.  And I think, in the end, they will never have seen anything like what's happening with our country.
So, again, I would like to thank you all.  You're very, very important to the future of this country.  You've done a fantastic job.  So many friends and so many great people.  And I know you very well.  And thank you very much.  And you guys have been fantastic, and I appreciate it very much.
Thank you.  Thank you all.  Have a good time.  (Applause.)
                        END                3:53 P.M. EST

Ed. Note: Also this...

Democratic National Committee
January 25, 2018