New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted on Monday that the city skipped over the permitting process entirely in order to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street outside the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.
When asked about the permit process and what the city needed to do in order to paint in front of the Trump Tower, de Blasio claimed that the moment was “too important” for the rules.
“That is something that again transcends all normal realities because we are at a moment of history when that had to be said and done. That’s a decision I made,” de Blasio said at a news conference, according to the New York Post.
“We haven’t said ‘no’ to people,” he continued. “We’ve said, ‘If you want to apply, you can apply, but there’s a process.'”
Critics were quick to point out that de Blasio gave himself an exception while denying the same privilege to a woman’s group supporting President Donald Trump after they applied for a permit to paint the phrase “Engaging, Inspiring, and Empowering Women to Make a Difference!” on a street.
The group sued city officials last month, alleging that de Blasio green-lighted BLM propaganda, which is an obvious “political gesture,” but denied the same rights to a pro-Trump group because of its political affiliations.
“On information and belief, de Blasio’s conduct as alleged herein is intended as a political gesture to the BLM movement and those sympathetic to it which has been done in order to enhance his future prospects as a Democratic candidate for office or appointee and by rallying BLM support for Democrats, including in the 2020 Presidential election,” the lawsuit states.
When asked about the permitting process’s specific criteria, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg refused to specifically name the requirements, but added that “the city does have discretion on painting those projects.”
De Blasio claimed that he did not bar the pro-Trump group from painting their slogan. Instead, he referred them to the Department of Transportation’s permitting process—a process he allowed the BLM movement to skip completely.
“That is something that again transcends all normal realities because we are at a moment of history when that had to be said and done, that’s a decision I made,” de Blasio said. “But the normal process continues for anyone who wants to apply.”