Two days in a row, Mayor de Blasio courted attention from national media outlets based outside of New York City — reigniting speculation that he’s signalling a run for president.
“It’s a signal that we need to make more progressive change in New York City,” de Blasio said when asked about his intentions Wednesday. “But also a reminder that New York City can help lead the nation.”
On Tuesday, de Blasio went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to announce plans to guarantee healthcare to all New Yorkers — news that sounded a bit less grandiose when parsed by the local press which detailed how he simply planned to better connect undocumented people, long served by city public hospitals, with primary case physicians, and to expand an already existing public option. Wednesday, he rolled out his support for paid vacation time for all New Yorkers in a Washington Post article, not typically the first paper the city’s working class picks up each morning.
“I’m focused on New York City, but I know what we do here can have a huge impact on the rest of the country. And I am going to go out and preach the gospel, I am going to go out and talk about the things we’re going here and the impact they can make,” he said.
Asked if that would include more trips to Iowa — home of the first presidential caucus and a state Hizzoner has visited repeatedly during his tenure — the mayor said he would share trip details when he had them.
His initial answer about whether he was exploring a presidential run didn’t amount to a no — and pressed on that, he said, he again did not use the word.
“I’ve said it a bunch of times: I’m mayor of New York City, and I intend to continue,” he said.
The spate of announcements comes after a 2017 re-election campaign that featured nearly no new policy proposals — and a quiet first year of his second term.
“For months it seemed like he had the worst case of senioritis that we’d seen, and he was only in year one of term two. Now it seems he’s coming into these lofty big-ticket ideas,” Christina Greer, an associate professor of political science at Fordham University, said. “Either he’s getting his second wind and or he’s trying to set himself up for a larger national conversation.”
Greer noted the mayor could have rolled out his announcements in newspapers read by his constituents.
“One would think that having some of the most brilliant journalists and newspapers in New York City, you might want to approach them first when you’re making big announcements — especially for announcements pertaining to New York City residents,” she said.
Some voters might be disappointed to see the mayor hitting the road with three years left to go in his term.