12:58 pm Sep. 9, 2011
In a bank-shot attack on businessman Republican congressional candidate Bob Turner, David Weprin and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio stood in front of reality TV star Donald Trump's eponymous tower on Fifth Avenue this morning to hold Trump up as a symbol everything that's detestable about the American system of governance.
"We're standing here in front of the Trump Tower because Donald Trump epitomizes so much of what is wrong with our current approach to economics, and our current approach to taxation," said de Blasio. "Donald Trump, of course a guy we have gotten to know more recently as someone who gleefully fires people, which is a pretty ironic message … is also one of the people who has benefitted time and again from the tax loopholes that typify our system."
Trump was singled out for this honor after endorsing Weprin's opponent in the race for the Ninth Congressional District, Bob Turner, and recording a robocall on Turner's behalf.
"This is Donald Trump, and I'm not calling to fire you, as we say on "The Apprentice." I'm calling to fire you up!" begins the robocall. The message continues on a note that will be overly familiar to anyone who's been following the contentious race: Israel.
"If you don't like what's going on in Washington, if you don't like what's happening with Israel, because Israel is being treated very badly and very unfairly by the Obama administration, vote for Bob Turner."
Trump faked a run for president earlier this year and it went badly for him.
Today's press conference got off to a rough start, largely because both principals were late. De Blasio strolled up at 20 past the scheduled hour, and began the press conference 30 minutes later, without Weprin, who, uncharacteristically, had yet to arrive.
"Theoretically, he got caught in some checkpoint on the bridge," said de Blasio, before getting started.
Weprin ended up arriving two minutes later and soon began counter-narrating this morning's Siena poll that found him trailing Bob Turner by six points.
"I'm not worried," said Weprin. "We're going to have about 1,000 people in the street. We've had overwhelming support from every labor union. We're going to have everybody out on Tuesday, and that's going to make the difference…. The only poll that counts is the poll on Election Day. "
UPDATE: Michael Cohen, a spokesman for Trump, took issue with the press release issued by Weprin's campaign following the event, which claimed that Trump and Turner wanted to "protect tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas."
In a statement, Cohen said, "The Press release issued by Weprin for Congress is completely inaccurate. Bob Turner requested a meeting with Mr. Trump seeking his advice on creating jobs in Brooklyn and Queens. David Weprin did no such thing. The protesters (who numbered less than 20) are, in essence, protesting a potential candidate who is out there looking for innovative solutions to help employ them, their family and friends. This truly makes no sense to me."
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