Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich slammed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's liberal agenda for America that he announced on Tuesday, telling Newsmax that the first-term Democrat "represents the unteachable wing of American politics."
"His own city has had about a 10 percent increase in the murder rate this year — and yet he did not increase the police in his budget by one single person," the former Republican congressman said in an exclusive interview.
He noted the recent unrest in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 of a severe spinal injury received while in police custody.
"One of the great failures of Republicans and conservatives is to have the courage to say: 'This is a city in which the last Republican left city council in 1942, the last Republican mayor left office in 1967,'" Gingrich said.
"The fact is that Democratic politicians, Democratic mayors, and Democratic governors have collectively crippled and destroyed the city of Baltimore."
At a news conference outside the Capitol in Washington where he was flanked by the Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders, de Blasio outlined his "Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality."
He has likened it to the "Contract With America" that Gingrich wrote with former Texas Rep. Dick Armey
in 1994. That document led to the Republicans retaking the House for the first time in four decades with broad right-of-center policies for the nation.
De Blasio's plan is based on a report by liberal Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz
and the progressive Roosevelt Institute in New York.
He also discussed his vision earlier Tuesday at the National Press Club with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who led Democrats in blocking a bill that would begin debate
on whether to grant President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a Pacific trade deal.
De Blasio's objectives include universal prekindergarten, a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, easier access to unionization, and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
"Today, the economic moment — and the political momentum — have converged," de Blasio said at the press club. "And now is the time for our country to enact bold structural changes to rebuild our middle class."
Gingrich, who represented Georgia in the House of Representatives for two decades beginning in 1979, has been attacking de Blasio's plan since late last week. He has dubbed it the "Liberal Contract With America," charging that it would lead the United States to disaster.
The former speaker told Newsmax that de Blasio followed two successful mayors into New York's City Hall: Republican Rudy Giuliani and independent Michael Bloomberg. They served a total of 20 years.
"The mayor has inherited a city that had two consecutive pro-business, pro-public safety, pro-tough management mayors," he said. "Mayor de Blasio has inherited a brief moment when others have built a healthier, wealthier, safer city — which he is in the process of destroying."
Citing such other troubled cities as Detroit and Ferguson, Missouri, where blacks looted after last August's shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer who was not charged, Gingrich said, "I think the arrogance of stepping past all the failures of liberalism in America … is just an amazing act of avoiding reality."
He said that he was not surprised that de Blasio was outside the city discussing a national agenda amid recent polls showing lower approval ratings among New Yorkers.
A Quinnipiac University poll
released Tuesday showed that 46 percent said that his activities regarding national affairs were distracting him from his duties at City Hall. Those backing de Blasio totaled only 42 percent.
The mayor's overall approval rating, along with those on addressing crime and the city's massive public school system, also are down in the Quinnipiac poll.
"De Blasio is like a lot of politicians who have their brief moment in the sun and decide to go for it," Gingrich told Newsmax. "He is taking an office that he won with a remarkably small turnout, and he is the mayor of our biggest city. That's not a small thing.
"De Blasio's goal is to be a national leader of the left, and he's doing things that make perfect sense," he added. "If you're the mayor of New York, and you don't want to spend time governing and doing boring things like running the city, then you go do stuff like this."
The plan included other objectives, like improving the nation's financial sector by ending the "too big to fail" designation for large banks, restructuring CEO pay, expanding public transportation, and opening Medicare to all Americans.
"As a conservative," Gingrich began, "I would like nothing better for the Democrats to jump off the cliff with an absolutely impossible and utterly unbelievable proposal.
"The fact is that the de Blasio policies lead to Detroit, to Baltimore, to Newark. They don't lead to economic growth."
Blue states like New York "with high taxes, high regulation, and high unionization are all losing jobs and losing people," he added. "Now, you would think at some point that somebody would stop and say, 'Gee, what if our policy just don't work?'
"It's almost like a religious reaffirmation that can't be true, so no matter what the evidence is, we have to stand up for whatever we've always stood up for — and I think that's where he's caught," Gingrich said of de Blasio's plan.
"I wish him well," he told Newsmax. "I hope he goes around the country and convinces his fellow Democrats that a delusional policy of destruction is really a cool thing."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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