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Pandering politicians playing with fire

This editorial appeared in the New York Daily News. 

Ideological reputations aside, President Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio are infuriatingly similar in their need to signal virtue to their political bases — especially on racial symbolism. 

After being pummeled in the polls, Trump threatens to veto the Defense Authorization Act over language renaming military bases commemorating Confederate generals. Yes, seriously, the president of the United States has pledged to deep-six a massive omnibus bill funding the armed forces so that treasonous generals who fought to preserve slavery will continue to be honored. Only Trump can make Mississippi legislators, who just put their bad old flag out to pasture, look enlightened.

In the other corner stands de Blasio. After being battered by activists to his left for not cutting the New York Police Department's budget further when shootings and murders are way up, the mayor has approved a city-paid “Black Lives Matter” mural on Fifth Avenue opposite Trump Tower.

As a general matter, we have no objection to such displays. But this one is sheer stupidity.

Because Trump revels in this sort of attention-seeking gimmick; sure enough, he tweeted out that de Blasio was promoting a “symbol of hate” while defunding the cops. Because the city and state need cooperation from Trump for critical funding in the next round of coronavirus relief. And because the whole point of America’s healthy newfound focus on systemic racism is that, you guessed it, systems need to change.

Trump wants to prop up the “lost cause” narrative of the Civil War. De Blasio just is a lost cause.

 

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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