NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio arranged a star-studded send off for the soon-to-be president.
An anti-Trump rally was held outside of the Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle on Thursday evening.
Among the celebrity speakers to take the stage was New York native Robert De Niro, who said he was “very happy to be here tonight with all of my over-rated friends.” He called the president-elect “a bad example of this country, this city.”
“These huddled masses learning to be free built our country and our lifeblood upon a strong, diverse, beautiful New York City,” he said. “They gave us the strength to prosper in the mid-70s when the government sent us the message to drop dead. They gave us the strength to recover after the tragedy of 9/11. Now they’ve given us the strength to persevere in the face of the promises of the incoming government.”
De Niro then handed the microphone to the mayor.
“Tomorrow, there will be a peaceful transfer of power. Tomorrow, Donald Trump will have power, but tomorrow you will have power as well,” de Blasio said. “Donald Trump may control the agenda in Washington, but we control our destiny as Americans.”
“We should not let anyone define us just by what we are against. We want to be defined by what we are for, what we believe in,” he added. “We believe in health care for all. We believe there should be opportunity for people regardless of what they look like or where they come from. We believe in a society for the 99 percent, not just the one percent. We believe in healing the wounds between our police and our communities, and making us all safer together. And we believe in protecting our precious Earth from the scourge of climate change.”
De Blasio was also joined by Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“New York, you look great. You look just like America,” she said.
Hodges was followed by filmmaker Michael Moore who helped organize the event and the “100 Days of Resistance” project.
“Everybody has to commit to doing something every single day now, every single day. You don’t have to quit your job. You don’t have to drop out of school. It’s just something very small that you have to do,” he told the crowd. “Everyday you have to contact your member of Congress or your two Senators, every day.”
“It takes three minutes. Wake up, brush teeth, make coffee, contact Congress. That’s the new morning routine,” he said.
Among the other community leaders and celebrities were Alec Baldwin, Mark Ruffalo, Cher, Julianne Moore, Cynthia Nixon and Shailene Woodley, as well as Rev. Al Sharpton.
Baldwin briefly did his infamous impression of Donald Trump before asking the protesters whether they plan to lay down or to fight. He also echoed de Blasio’s push for people to sign up for the ID NYC program.
The rally concluded with a musical performance by Natalie Merchant before the protesters marched to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, some thought the move by the mayor was misguided.
“I think it’s important to defend the needs of the people,” de Blasio said prior to the event.
The mayor started talking about holding the rally two days ago. On Wednesday, he urged supporters to come to the event.
Tweeting, “Let’s send Donald Trump off to DC w/ a message that we’re going to protect the values that make NYC great.”
There are some who said that participating in the rally was not a good idea for a mayor who looks to Washington for a lot of money, and a lot of favors.
“The President of the United States is responsible for giving New York City billions of dollars every year in aid. Guess what, why don’t you just make the guy angry so he cuts you off?” political consultant, Hank Sheinkopf said, “It’s just not smart. Frankly it’s idiotic.”
Sheinkopf is right about the dollars and cents. City Hall gets $8.5-billion — everything from NYPD anti-terror training to child protection, and free school lunches fro the needy.
New Yorkers were divided about whether it’s wise for the mayor to fight the new president.
Forty-six percent said the mayor should try to get along with Trump while forty-five percent said he should be a national leader against Trump, according to a new Quinnipiac Poll.
“I think he’s creating a chasm between him and Trump from the get go and it certainly never helps to start off that way,” Ha Eskanazi said.
Interestingly, New Yorkers in the Quinnipiac Poll think Governor Cuomo would be more effective than de Blasio in representing New York City’s interests in Washington.
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