In his first appearance on "The Colbert Report” Wednesday night, Mayor de Blasio talked to host Stephen Colbert about income inequality in the city, the Long Island Rail Road labor dispute and his predecessor, Mayor Bloomberg.
Colbert began the interview jokingly, referring to de Blasio as a socialist. When the mayor described his “inclusive” and “progressive” vision for the city, Colbert joked, “You raised money for the Sandinistas in the 1980s. You’re a socialist. You’re a communist.”
“In this country today with growing income inequality, we have to change our course,” de Blasio said. “We can’t continue with a divided society, we want to create unity.”
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Then, the pair discussed the looming strike on the Long Island Rail Road, which is responsible for transporting more than 300,000 riders in and out of the city each day. More than 5,4000 LIRR employees are set to walk out on the nation's largest railroad Sunday if their demands of increased pay and better benefits aren't met.
“The Long Island Rail Road is under the jurisdiction of Gov. Cuomo,” de Blasio said. “He’s working very hard to come to a resolution. I am hopeful there be will a resolution.”
Colbert asked de Blasio if he would be canceling his planned 10-day vacation to Italy, which begins on Friday.
“Well, right now we are hopeful that everything’s going to go well and there will be a resolution (to the labor dispute),” de Blasio said.
Finally, de Blasio gave Colbert his thoughts on Bloomberg's legacy.
“He did some good investments in education,” de Blasio said, “But in the end he did not address income inequality. He did not address stop-and-frisk. He didn’t address a number of issues that were actually tearing at the city and demanded a resolution.”