Skip to Content

‘No One Is Exempt.’ Why De Blasio Is Rallying in the Lobby of Trump Tower

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to challenge President Donald Trump, at least when it comes to the pollution thrown off by buildings that bear his name.

The Democrat, who is still mulling a potential 2020 White House run, staged a rally in the lobby of Trump Tower — where the president famously launched his first campaign — to drum up publicity for the city’s effort to slow the pace of global warming. He’ll decide upon his own presidential candidacy by the end of this week, he said.

At least eight New York City buildings that are owned by President Donald Trump or use his brand name could be fined $2.1 million a year by 2030 if they remain out of compliance with recently enacted energy conservation laws, de Blasio said. The law, which takes effect May 17, compels owners of residential and commercial buildings larger than 25,000 square feet (2,300 square meters), to install new boilers, air conditioners, windows and insulation in order to meet sharp carbon-emission reductions.

“This sends a message to landlords across this city that no one is exempt from this bill; not even the president of the United States,” de Blasio said during a rally inside the midtown tower where the president has his home and business headquarters.

Trump Tower would face $470,000 a year in fines if he doesn’t meet the law’s emission standards by 2030, the mayor said.

While acknowledging that the city had worse polluting landlords, de Blasio, 58, denied he chose the Trump Tower site for political reasons. The mayor hasn’t ruled out joining the crowded Democratic field, he told reporters Monday.

Trump’s worst offending building, according to de Blasio, is the Trump International Hotel & Tower at 1 Central Park West, which would pay more than $850,000 if it remains out of compliance with the law in 2030. In total, the eight Trump buildings de Blasio cited account for 27,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, equal to 5,800 cars, according to the mayor’s office.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—How New York could become a factor in the 2020 presidential race

How to invest during a trade war

—What exactly is ranked-choice voting?

—These are the U.S. goods affected by the China tariffs

—Get up to speed on your morning commute with Fortune’s CEO Daily newsletter