New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday followed through on his promise to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” on the city’s famed Fifth Avenue – and right outside of Trump Tower.
de Blasio had announced his plan weeks ago, prompting President Trump to tweet that the Mayor would be “denigrating this luxury avenue.”
de Blasio, who was joined by his wife and the Reverend Al Sharpton, addressed the President’s response Thursday:
“Let me tell you, we are not denigrating anything. We are liberating Fifth Avenue. So, when we say, ‘Black Lives Matter’, there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement, because there is no America without Black America."
The mural escalates an ongoing feud between the Mayor and the President – who has criticized Black Lives Matter protestors and whose rhetoric has stoked racial tensions.
Last July, de Blasio said New York would not welcome back Trump – who was born in Queens – after his presidency.
Three months later, Trump announced that he switched his permanent residence to his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida from his Trump Tower residence in New York.
Similar “Black Lives Matters” murals have been painted on other New York City streets and in U.S. cities including Washington, D.C., Raleigh, North Carolina and Oakland, California.