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September 21, 2019

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Bill de Blasio brings presidential campaign to Vegas, calls Trump ‘Con Don’

Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill de Blasio in LV

Steve Marcus

Democratic presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a meeting with Clark County Democrats at La Cabana restaurant Saturday May 25, 2019.

The Democratic Party misplaced its identity in losing blue-leaning voters in the 2016 presidential election defeat to Donald Trump, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“I don’t blame them if they’ve grown weary or if they’d grown frustrated,” he said. “I haven’t heard our party speak with passion, or integrity and intensity about the needs of working people.”

But this upcoming election, a unifying leader with a platform that encompasses all Americans could earn those votes back, said de Blasio, who’s vying to become that candidate.

De Blasio brought his message of “working people first” to Las Vegas on Saturday in an intimate meet-and-greet lunch with Clark County Democrats a little over a week after he launched his campaign to become the Democratic nominee.

Earlier in the day, de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray met with veterans. They were slated to appear in local events through Sunday. McCray emphasized that mental and behavioral health is a human right, and that a de Blasio administration would tackle the issue.

“We as a country have gone astray” and it’s up to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to fix it, said de Blasio, a towering figure who wore khaki pants, a sports jacket and sneakers.

De Blasio touted is administration’s implementation of $15 an hour minimum wage, paid sick leave, guaranteed healthcare and free pre-k education. “Changes that we’ve done in New York can happen for this whole country,” he said. Taking a jab on Trump, de Blasio repeated the nickname he gave him: “Con Don.”

De Blasio fielded questions on topics such as Yucca Mountain, reproductive rights, international affairs, and gun control legislation.

The federal government should “focus on needs and consent of local communities,” de Blasio said about the Yucca Mountain project. “If it isn’t there, we do not proceed. For too long, the federal government treated Nevada and some other states like a place that could be pushed around and dictated to, and that does not make sense.”

A de Blasio administration would confront the National Rifle Association and its political influence, he said, noting that he respects the constitution, but doesn’t see how background checks infringe on the Second Amendment.

About Trump’s veiled threats to Iran, de Blasio said talk about military action is “about the stupidest things I’ve ever heard in my life. “It doesn’t mean we ignore Iran’s role in global terrorism…that we don’t show Iran that we’re going to set some boundaries.”

About possible intervention in Venezuela, he said there are diplomatic and economic tools the U.S. government could use instead of violence, which would show that “we would once again prove to hundreds of millions of people in our own hemisphere that we do not respect them if we militarily intervene in a Latin American nation.”

“We’ve had too many commanders in chief who’ve had no problem sending our young men and women to war (with) absolutely no concern of what it meant to them and their families,” de Blasio said.

About recent laws passed that address abortion, de Blasio called it a “human crisis,” noting that “women will die because of them.” Additionally, he said the laws don’t represent the wishes of the majority of Americans.

Asked about jumping into a crowded field with other candidates having a months-long head start, de Blasio said its early into the 2020 election, and that any lost ground could be recovered with social media.

Nevadans caucus in February.

From Ronald Reagan to Trump, a right-wing agenda and the Republican Party acted on behalf of the 1 percent earners, de Blasio said. “I don’t think the Democratic Party has done a good job” calling that out, he added. “There are also too many Democrats who sound like they represent the elites and not the working people.”

He vowed to change that.