White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany lauded a letter sent by more 160 CEOs to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asking him to crack down on crime, saying the mayor should “stop painting murals and start protecting New Yorkers.”
“It is exactly right for companies to call out his recklessness,” McEnany said on Fox Business’ “The Evening Edit.” “New York did not have a peaceful weekend." She noted that the city surpassed 1,000 shootings before Labor Day.
“De Blasio, don't know if he's taking a nap, but wake up and secure your city. Stop painting murals and start protecting New Yorkers,” the press secretary said.
Business executives across multiple industries sent a letter to the mayor calling for action to be taken on "public safety and other quality of life issues that jeopardize economic recovery."
"Despite New York’s success in containing the coronavirus, unprecedented numbers of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness, or otherwise at risk," the letter reads. "There is widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs."
The business leaders noted that the city needs to send a "strong, consistent message that our employees, customers, clients and visitors will be coming back to a safe and healthy work environment" and are urging de Blasio to take immediate action to "restore essential services as a necessary precursor for solving the city’s longer term, complex, economic challenges.”
The business leaders also warned the two-term mayor that "people will be slow to return unless their concerns about security and the livability of our communities are addressed quickly and with respect and fairness for our city’s diverse populations."
Partnership for New York City, a business group whose members employ over 1.5 million New Yorkers, organized the letter. It included the signatures of more than 160 executives from companies including Bank of America, Macy's, Citigroup, Lyft, and Jet Blue, among others.
Bill Neidhardt, the mayor's press secretary, told FOX Business that restoring essential services is directly dependent on federal stimulus.
He said the city is "grateful for the business community’s input, and we’ll continue partnering with them to rebuild a fairer, better city."
The Democratic mayor wants "to restore these services and save jobs, and the most direct way to do that is with long term borrowing and a federal stimulus," Niedhart said.
With Congress at a standstill over stimulus, Niedhardt added, "We ask these leaders to join in this fight because the stakes couldn’t be higher.”
According to the New York Police Department, there were 242 citywide shooting incidents in the month of August, a 166% increased compared to the previous year and an 87% spike year to date through August 31. Meanwhile, murders increased by 34% and burglaries increased by 22% in August. Over Labor Day weekend alone, the NYPD said 160 gun arrests were made following 23 shooting incidents. Despite these increases, overall crime is nowhere near the levels it reached in the late 1980s and early 90s, when there were 2,000 murders per year on average.
Fox Business' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.