Earlier today at Grand Central Terminal, George McDonald, the Republican CEO and Founder of the DOE Fund, kicked off his campaign for Mayor of New York City. The DOE Fund’s mission, which is to provide employment to the homeless and formerly incarcerated, was on full display at the event, where he was introduced and surrounded by graduates of his nonprofit’s program.
“Time is not what it seems in Grand Central Terminal. It’s said that trains leave promptly on schedule, one minute after the posted time on the big board, a kind of grace period for busy commuters. And in what seems like a minute, our city has been transformed,” Mr. McDonald expounded. “25 years ago New York was a different city, it was dirty, dingy, unsafe, and many believed unmanageable. It was widely thought that our best days were behind us. During those days, I came to Grand Central every night, 700 nights in a row to feed the homeless.”
Interestingly, Mr. McDonald, who supported Mitt Romney in the recent presidential election, blasted Mr. Romney’s infamous ‘47 percent’ remarks where Mr. Romney criticized those who receive government benefits.
“During this past presidential election there was much discussion of the ‘47 percent.’ I know something about the ‘47 percent,’” he said. “I have worked with them each and everyday for the past 25 years. They don’t dream less. They don’t care less. They don’t aspire less,” he continued, ready to pivot to a more Republican-oriented talking point. “But the best way to empower the ‘47 percent’ is to help them find a job and then let them keep as much of what they earn as they can.’’
Of course, considering President Barack Obama beat Mr. Romney by a landslide–81 percent to 18 percent–in the five boroughs, a departures from the message of the former presidential contender make a certain amount of sense.
Mr. McDonald has an uphill path to the Republican nomination, however. With former M.T.A. Chairman Joe Lhota strongly considering the race and the city’s GOP county chairmen settled on other candidates, like former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr. and businessman John Catsimatidis, he’ll undoubtedly have to fight for each vote. Also running on the GOP line is Manhattan Media C.E.O. Tom Allon, and, of course, there is the even stronger field of Democratic candidates.
As a side note, Mr. McDonald also dropped the formality a tad at certain moments too, telling Capital New York’s Azi Paybarah about his high number of Twitter followers when Mr. Paybarah asked about his full employment plan, for example.
“You know why I’m running for mayor, Azi?” he joked. “I heard you have a better Klout score than I do.”