Bill de Blasio: Don’t Take Donald Trump ‘Lightly’

Donald Trump at his announcement speech. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

Donald Trump at his announcement speech. (Photo: Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

As he continued to denounce Donald Trump today, Mayor Bill de Blasio added a new caveat: don’t take the billionaire Republican “lightly.”

“I don’t think anyone should take Donald Trump lightly,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer. “When you take conservatives lightly, you end up getting burned a lot of the time. This guy is obviously raising some important points and people are listening.”

Mr. Trump, now leading a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates in the polls, has drawn mounting criticism from many Democrats for a series of statements he’s made since announcing his bid, including comparing illegal immigrants to “rapists,” insulting Sen. John McCain’s war record and claiming a critical female Fox News host had “blood coming out of her wherever.” His attacks on immigrants, however, have resonated with conservative voters, a point Mr. de Blasio, a liberal, conceded.

Some pundits believe Mr. Trump will eventually fade, giving way to establishment favorites. But Mr. de Blasio, who has been reviewing legal ways to sever Mr. Trump’s many contracts with the city, didn’t think the “Trump phenomenon is going to end anytime soon.”

“But at the same time, what he said about Mexican-Americans, what he said about Senator McCain, the many inappropriate things he said about women … all of these outrageous and inappropriate statements, they will be noted by the American voters,” Mr. de Blaso said.

Mr. de Blasio also had kind words for the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton. He is one of the few prominent Democrats not to endorse her, which has raised eyebrows since the two have longstanding ties, dating back to Mr. de Blasio’s role as campaign manager for Ms. Clinton’s first run for United States Senate.

“She’s presented an increasingly compelling vision and is saying the kinds of things I think people in this country have been waiting to hear from a presidential candidate,” he said. “So I give her a lot of credit for what she’s saying.”

Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media. 

Bill de Blasio: Don’t Take Donald Trump ‘Lightly’