Donald Trump has complained about a decision by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to paint a sprawling Black Lives Matter mural across Fifth Avenue, saying in a tweet the art would "antagonise" law enforcement.
The president began his tweet by claiming New York City officials were “cutting” the New York City Police Department (NYPD) budget by “ONE BILLION DOLLARS” — seemingly referring to the state’s nearly $90 billion budget that was approved late Tuesday night. New York City’s budget included a reported $484 million in cuts to the NYPD, along with another $163 million in “associated costs” that was slashed from the 2021 budget.
According to the city council, an additional $354 million in funds to the NYPD would instead be reallocated to agencies “best positioned to carry out the duties” that were previously assigned to the city’s police department.
Still, the president attacked Mr de Blasio over reports he approved a mural to be painted on Fifth Avenue — just in front of the Trump Tower — and wrote on Wednesday: “NYC is cutting Police $’s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue.”
“Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street,” he continued. “Spend this money fighting crime instead!”
Here’s what you don’t understand:
Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation.
Your “luxury” came from THEIR labor, for which they have never been justly compensated.
We are honoring them. The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor)July 1, 2020
Mr de Blasio approved the plan for the mural after he reportedly saw Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser approve a similar Black Lives Matter art piece that sprawled across the blocks leading up to the White House.
The Washington mural has been met with both approval and criticism from some activists, who have said they would rather see major policing reforms nationwide than performative acts of solidarity.
But the New York City mayor defended his decision to move forward with the forthcoming mural in a tweet of his own, writing: “Here’s what you don’t understand: Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation.”
“Your ‘luxury’ came from THEIR labour,” Mr de Blasio continued, “for which they have never been justly compensated.”
He added: “We are honoring them. The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism.”