New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he can take on President Trump

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This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 16, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, D-NYC, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  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.  I'm Bill de Blasio and I'm running for president.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT:  The worst mayor in the history of New York City, and without question the worst mayor in the United States, is now running for president.  It will never happen.  I'm pretty good at predicting things like that.  I would be very surprised to see him in there for a long period, but it's just not going to happen.  If you like high taxes and if you like crime, you can vote for him.  But most people aren't into that.  So I wish him luck, but really, you would be better off if you got back to New York City and did your job for the little time you have left.  Good luck, be well.



BAIER:  President Trump aboard Air Force One as he's landing in New York heading to a fundraiser, talking about the New York City mayor, the 2020 candidate, expanding the number there.  "The New York Post" taking its own take on the de Blasio run for president.  But it does add to the list of candidates, and now officially at 23.  There are actually more if you go way down the list.

But we have polled in the latest poll out the top of the hour, and there you see Joe Biden atop the field, really doubling Bernie Sanders in second place.  And you see Elizabeth Warren in third in our latest poll.  And that is key because the next debate depends on polling and donors and a lot of things.

Let's bring in our panel and we'll talk about the race, FOX News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, you may have heard of him, Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at "The Federalist," and Charles Lane, opinion writer for "The Washington Post." Judge, you spend a lot of time in New York.  What about this move by de Blasio and the president's reaction?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST:  Wow, the president is only slightly exaggerating in terms of the seriousness with which anybody outside de Blasio's inner circle would take his run for the presidency, which is none.  The city is corrupt, his administration is corrupt, his administration is inept.  He doesn't even have a majority support amongst Democrats in New York City after having been mayor for six years.  So it's almost farcical that he's doing this.

Charlie has a very interesting theory which we will let him explain as to why de Blasio running without taking his thunder.  It has to do with corruption, no surprise.

BAIER:  Chuck?

CHARLES LANE, OPINION WRITER, "WASHINGTON POST":  Well, before we get to that, it's often in the past seemed like a good idea when you're the New York City mayor to run for the president.  I can think of the president Giuliani and president John Lindsay who were in that position.  I don't want the Judge to speak too much, but I do think that Mayor de Blasio may be playing an angle here, which enables him to keep his donor base active.  
It enables him to create interest in Bill de Blasio's political future among the people in New York City who give money to politics, developers and people like that, because I really don't see that he has a great chance of winning this.  But you never know.  That's what we all said when Donald Trump declared.

BAIER:  As more and more candidates get in, 23, 24, wherever the thing stops, Mollie, do you think that helps Joe Biden?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE FEDERALIST":  I think it does help Joe Biden.  You look at the other polling that we've seen which shows that people care a great deal who can beat Donald Trump.  And he just seems to be in a different class than a lot of other people.  But America is just a great country where everyone can run for it no matter how unpopular they are.  But it seemed like a pool party for a while.  Not it's getting to be like a crowded pool party where it's a little bit less fun.  And so I think people are going to start taking it more seriously.  But we are still so far away from the first actual first vote being cast.

BAIER:  It's sort of like a crowded, wet park, with the slides and everything.  There's a lot of people there.


BAIER:  All right, here is Kamala Harris speaking about Joe Biden.  Take a listen.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Joe Biden, but I disagree with him.  That 1994 crime bill, it did contribute to mass incarceration in our country.  It encouraged and was the first time that we had a federal three strikes law.  
It funded the building of more prisons in the states.


BAIER:  You can already see the arguments forming against Biden, on the crime bill specifically.

NAPOLITANO:  this is the deficiency of having a public life that spans 45 or 50 years.  There's so many things he has to defend.  In 1994, that bill was very popular, was promoted by Democrats.  The president who signed it was Bill Clinton.  And it was perceived as a right thing to do at the time.  
We now look at it differently.  That explanation Joe Biden is going to have to give over and over again as his behavior in the old days is contrasted with the needs of the present.

MNORTH:  It takes some gall for someone like Kamala Harris to talk about incarceration when one of the things that people really don't like about her is how aggressively she prosecuted people as a D.A.

But I think she is also speaking to this other dispute we're seeing with Joe Biden.  It was announced that he's going to have his headquarters in Pennsylvania.  There are two ways to get the nomination and one is to rebuild the Obama coalition and see if you can get that excitement that didn't happen for Hillary.  He actually has a fair amount of that.  The other, though, is to go back to that late 20th century Democratic Party politics where you're really strong in the Midwest with union voters and blue-collar voters.  And I think he is signaling that he's going to try for that route, which will be stronger for him in the general.

BAIER:  Let's put up the 2020 presidential vote preference, Democratic candidate versus President Trump in our latest poll.  And it's a plus or minus three here.  And you see the breakdown of the candidates versus President Trump.  No, that's the interest.  Next one, 2020 presidential vote preference, John Biden versus Donald Trump is coming, Chuck.


BAIER:  And there you see the breakdown.  Now, people, they don't like polls this early.  They just don't like them.  It's a marker in a period of time.  I will say in 2016, the polls underreported.  People didn't say that they supported Donald Trump.  If you are a Democrat and you look at that, do you say, this is great?

LANE:  Donald Trump now unlike this time in 2015, he is a known quantity, OK.  They aren't a whole lot of people in America still trying to make up their minds about Donald Trump.  So the fact that his number is that low against Joe Biden, who, by the way, is also a known quantity as the judge was saying, ought to be very alarming to the Trump reelection campaign, because --

BAIER:  But on the flipside, for approval is at 46 percent.

LANE:  His approval is going up, but I think we have another number that shows that only 46 percent of the public -- I'm sorry 46 percent of the public are saying they will definitely vote for anyone but Donald Trump.  
So there is a hard pro Trump, 35 to 45 percent, and there's a hard anti- Trump, which all the polls show is a little bit larger.

BAIER:  Quickly?

HEMINGWAY:  I think one of the flaws with polling is that they look nationwide when you actually have to win state-by-state.  And you have a lot of states where you're going to see overwhelming opposition to Trump.  
The question is when it comes down to two candidates.

BAIER:  Right, and which states.

Next up, breaking down the president's immigration plan and the other news today.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT:  Our proposal is pro- American, pro-immigrant, and pro-worker.  It's just common sense.  We want immigrants coming in.  We cherish the open door that we want to create for our country, but a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER:  It is really a condescending word.  
They are saying family is without merit?  Are they saying most of the people who have ever come to the United States in the history of our country are without merit because they don't have an engineering degree?


BAIER:  Speaker Pelosi talking about the emigration plan.  Back with the panel.  Chuck, interesting take for the Speaker to go after the word "merit," and "merit-based."  Rhetoric --

LANE:  Well, I can sort of see why she did that, but it does imply that a lot of people who, as she said, don't have engineering are meritless and so on and so forth.  But I think there is merit in the idea of having a system here that is more like that of Canada or Australia.  That was the idea that gears towards the real needs of labor market and so forth.

BAIER:  Which are real.

LANE:  As opposed to so much family reunification.  We just do much more family reunification than other country.  I think what we are seeing here, though, is this is mainly, whatever its policy merits, it's mainly important for what it's trying to do politically.  It is in response to some of these troubling poll numbers.  Republicans, the president, are trying to get a more positive message out other than just fighting illegal immigration.  They want to show what they are for, they want to organize the Republican Party around a unified position that they can carry into 2020.  The big question mark is whether they can pull it off, but that is the strategy.

BAIER:  Judge?

NAPOLITANO:  I agree with Charlie.  I don't think the president himself expects this to get anywhere.  He pretty much said let's do it after we take back the Senate -- take back the House and retain the Senate and retain the White House.  And the crowd went wild.  I think this will effectively gin up its base, but I think it's dead on arrival.  I hate to quote Senator Blumenthal, but it is true.  My grandparents would not have gotten here.  The president's grandparents would not have gotten here.  
Senator Blumenthal's grandparents would not have gotten here if this were the law at the time they came into the country.

BAIER:  Mollie?

HEMINGWAY:  One of the things that is actually interesting to remember is that at the time that your grandparents came into the country, they were matching the skill set of the current population.  So this bill, or this idea is about matching the skill set or making sure that the people who come in will be a benefit to recent immigrants and other citizens of the United States.

NAPOLITANO:  Even low skilled people benefit the country, because they do jobs Americans don't want to do.

HEMINGWAY:  They drive down wages which hurt more people at the lower end of the spectrum.  But the general idea here I think is interesting to focus, to move away from family-based immigration, which we have done since the 60s, where you can be like the great-grandfather of your cousin twice removed and have a privileged entry point.  It is sort of about who you know and changing it into a system where it's going to be, whether you're a Somali refugee or an Indian doctor, you kind of understand the rules and you can meet them and you come in and everyone plays by the same rules.

BAIER:  I want to read one quote from the "New York Times." It matches a "Washington Post" story, and this is about Iran.  "President Trump has told his acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he does not want to go to war with Iran, according to the several administration officials, in a message to his hawkish aides that intensifying American pressure campaign against the clerical led government in Tehran must not escalate into an open conflict."  Other stories match that, your "Washington Post" story about frustration with hawkish elements in his administration.  You see this push and pull.

LANE:  I think there's a lot of people who are going to be very relieved to hear that the president has been sending that message out, because this was starting to move like a train down the tracks with nobody really knowing where it even got started.  This disagreement or conflict or whatever it was in Iran was being sourced to vague intelligence reports about this or that incident.  The senators were crying out, hey, we don't have all the information we need, including Republicans like Lindsey Graham.  The European allies were freaking out.

And among other things, that was actually giving an advantage to Iran.  The Iranians were campaigning around Europe saying the United States is the one being provocative here.  So I think a lot of people around the world are going to be relieved.

BAIER:  There will be a briefing Tuesday for the full Senate.  We'll continue to cover all the latest with the movements in Iran.  Panel, thank you.  When we come back, fast friends.


BAIER:  Finally tonight, it's clearly not an emergency, but one police officer made sure to respond to one boy's 911 call.  A six-year-old boy called 911 last week because he was lonely.  Responding to the call, Tallahassee police officer Joe White.  Officer White visited the boy at home to explain that 911 is only to be used for emergencies, but he promised him they would always be friends, even gave him a stuffed animal.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight.  That's it for the “Special Report,” fair, balanced, and still unafraid.  "The Story" hosted by Martha MacCallum starts right now.

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