U.S. President Donald Trump blasted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday after it was announced that “Black Lives Matter” will be painted on Fifth Avenue, calling it “a symbol of hate.”
"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," the president tweeted.
Trump went on to write "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. Spend this money fighting crime instead!"
De Blasio responded to the president saying that he doesn't "understand" that "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," he added.
Trump's criticism of the budget cuts to the police department comes after the New York City Council voted to pass the 2021 budget on Tuesday night with cuts to police funding. The vote comes after weeks of fraught negotiations with de Blasio, but some lawmakers complained it fell short of a $1 billion cut they and protesters demanded.
The austere, coronavirus-era budget tightens spending across city agencies, including a cut of nearly $484 million from the New York Police Department’s $6 billion operating budget if the department can adhere to new overtime limits, the council said.
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Another $354 million of police funding will be transferred to other city agencies, most prominently in the mayor’s agreeing to shift oversight of school safety officers from the NYPD to the Department of Education, the council said.