NEW YORK >> Mayor Bill de Blasio has ignited a new feud with President Donald Trump by ordering the words “Black Lives Matter” to be painted in large yellow letters on the street outside Trump Tower.
The words are expected to be painted in the coming week on Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th streets, according to the city.
“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” Julia Arredondo, a spokeswoman for de Blasio, said in a statement today. “He can’t run or deny the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter.”
In a tweet in response, Trump referenced de Blasio’s plan to paint “the fabled & beautiful Fifth Avenue, right in front of Trump Tower/Tiffany” and sought to play up animosity between the Black Lives Matter movement and police in New York City.
Trump falsely said in the tweet that Black Lives Matter protesters in the city had shouted chants encouraging the killing of police officers.
“‘Pigs in a Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon’, referring to killing Police, is their chant,” Trump said, an apparent reference to a chant at a protest in 2015 in Minnesota.
A scene from that protest had recently appeared in a segment on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.
“NYC Police are furious!” Trump added in the tweet.
Trump, who has a history of denigrating Black people, said in another tweet today that a leader of Black Lives Matter in the New York area had committed treason in statements he made about burning down “the system” if meaningful change did not materialize.
The White House did not immediately answer questions about Trump’s tweet or the statement from de Blasio’s office.
The snipes from Trump came as New York City continued to see protests against racism and police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. De Blasio and the Police Department had come under fire earlier this month for their aggressive handling of protesters.
De Blasio has also been losing Black supporters. Some of those supporters say that the mayor has benefited politically from his pledges to overhaul the Police Department but has failed to deliver on them.
In planning to paint the words, de Blasio’s tactics mirrored those of Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, who had city workers paint “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters outside the White House amid tensions with the president over his deployment of federal officers during protests there. Similar murals have cropped up in other cities.
In New York, the street mural outside Trump Tower will be one of several created by the city. One Black Lives Matter mural has already been painted in Staten Island, on Richmond Terrace, between Hamilton Avenue and the Ferry Terminal Viaduct. Two others will be painted in Manhattan, and Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx will each get a mural. Details were not immediately available about specifically where those murals will be and when they will be painted.
Another mural with bold yellow letters was painted this month by artists and volunteers on a street in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.