- New York City leader calls Governor Chris Christie `heartless'
- Trump has suggested registering Muslims, monitoring mosques
Bill de Blasio attacked Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump as a heedless demagogue after he called for tracking Muslims in the U.S., opening a new front in the New York mayor’s battle with those who oppose accepting Syrian refugees.
“Donald Trump, who is a blowhard, is saying things that blatantly play into ISIS’s hands,” de Blasio, a Democrat, said Friday on WWOR radio in New York. “Donald Trump, leading candidate for president, says let’s shut down all mosques. It’s like ISIS propaganda that they couldn’t even buy themselves.”
Trump, a billionaire New York real-estate developer who has gained traction in the Republican race, said this week that Syrian refugees may prove a “Trojan horse” in the U.S. In a Thursday interview with Yahoo News, he said he would be open to implementing a database to track Muslim Americans.
De Blasio “should focus on running #NYC & all of the problems that he has
caused with his ineptitude, & not be so focused on me!” Trump later said on his official Twitter account. “Can you believe the worst Mayor in the U.S., & probably the worst Mayor in the history of #NYC, @BilldeBlasio, just called me a blow hard!”
The mayor’s statements escalate a feud between de Blasio and those Republicans who’ve called for blocking refugees from Syria following last week’s terror attacks in Paris. On Wednesday, the mayor waved a photo of a dead Syrian child at a press conference and accused New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of hypocrisy for his resistance to allowing people, even orphans younger than 5, to seek asylum in the U.S. In today’s interview, he called Christie “heartless.”
Christie has responded to de Blasio on Twitter, calling him a “liberal politician who is more interesting in making headlines than protecting the people.”
The mayor said four Syrian refugees have arrived in his city. Millions more have been displaced by conflict in the region, which includes a civil war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group there and in neighboring Iraq.
“ISIS wants to portray to 1.6 billion Muslims around the world that the West hates them, that America hates them and wants to take over their lands,” the mayor said. “Do we want America to suddenly close its door and send that message to the world?”
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 289-137 in favor of legislation that would temporarily block refugees from Syria and Iraq from entering the country. President Barack Obama has said he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. The Senate hasn’t indicated whether it will take up the measure, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed support for a pause.