View From The Debate: Trump’s Disastrous Night

Hillary greets the crowd after the debate.

Hillary greets the crowd after the debate.

I attended last night’s debate at Hofstra, so I don’t know how things looked on TV, but viewed in person, let me tell you: it was a total disaster for Donald Trump.

Well, maybe total is too strong a word.  After all, the debate did not plumb the full depths of Trump’s racism, divisiveness, and authoritarianism.  But it sure did show him to be a thin-skinned bully, narcissist, and sociopath, who can’t abide the slightest criticism, repeatedly talks over others, uses a patter of repetitive BS to dodge questions, and is utterly incapable of distinguishing truth from lies.

Like a spinning top that begins in a tight spiral and then eventually flops all around the table, Trump unraveled as the evening wore on — bringing up Rosie O’Donnell, repeatedly invoking Sean Hannity, bizarrely describing an imaginary 400-pound computer hacker, airing out various personal grievances and discontents, as though the debate were a sort of weird national therapy session.  My favorite moment: when Trump proudly boasted that some club of his admitted people of different races, as though compliance with non-discrimination laws deserved a special prize.  Or, well, maybe my favorite moment was when Trump claimed to have a great temperament – which, by all evidence, means the impulse control and attention span of a toddler.  There were really too many favorite moments to choose.

Bottom line: this was the worst debate performance of the modern era from the worst Presidential candidate of the modern era.

What about Hillary?  She was solid.  Some great answers, some just OK.  But compared to Trump, Hillary might as well have been Abe Lincoln or Daniel Webster — she was unflappable, in command of the issues, and absolutely ready to be President.

Don King with oversized Trump button.

Step right up!  Don King with oversized Trump button.

This whole awful campaign has had a circus-like quality, and last night was no exception.  As if to make the point – step right up! – Don King was in the house, bedecked in a star-spangled jeans jacket with oversized Trump button.  Catching a glimpse of him chatting with Sheldon Adelson – surely the oddest of odd couples – was worth the price of admission alone.

I took it all in with a few fellow mayors.  We felt privileged to have an up close (or at least row M) view of this little bit of American history, and we had some good laughs together at the expense of the whole Trump carnival.

And yet every time I really reflect on all this, the laughter dies away pretty quickly and is replaced by sorrow and fear.

This is the greatest nation in the history of the world.  The Presidency is an office of unique importance to all of humankind.  How is this election even close?




New Ro, Yonkers and White Plains Take Green Cities Commuter Challenge

Mayor Noam Bramson accepts the Green Cities Commuter Challenge.

Mayor Noam Bramson accepts the Green Cities Commuter Challenge.

Last week, I joined the mayors of Yonkers and White Plains, Mike Spano and Tom Roach, to accept New York’s Green Cities Commuter Challenge.

Over the next two years, our three cities will have a friendly competition to see who can achieve the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions among municipal employees.   The competition will be overseen by Metropool, which will also provide important logistical support, including publicly-visible video screens that will display transit and mobility options.

It’s a nice thing to do for three reasons: (1) there’s an intrinsic value to any energy savings we achieve; (2) we set a positive example for other large institutions and businesses; (3) we can better attract residents and investors who care about green practices.

There’s a lot more information in this press release.


One Dorm, Two Mayors

Mayor Noam Bramson of New Rochelle and Mayor Jon Mitchell of New Bedford.

Mayor Noam Bramson of New Rochelle, NY and Mayor Jon Mitchell of New Bedford, MA. Both formerly of Matthews South.

Yesterday, the Clinton campaign invited several dozen mayors from around the country to their Brooklyn headquarters for a discussion of policy and politics.

I felt a little out of my weight class surrounded mainly by mayors of much larger cities — Phoenix, Dallas, Detroit, Columbus, New Orleans, New York City, Charlotte, just to name a few.  I sat next to Betsy Hodges, the Mayor of Minneapolis, and we got to talking about our Mary Tyler Moore connection; Laura Petrie for New Rochelle, Mary Richards for Minneapolis.

Still, despite being a little fish in a big pond, I enjoyed the conversation, and it was my first opportunity to see a national campaign headquarters firsthand – an impressive sight, even if the sea of very young faces made me feel very old.

The surprise and treat of the day was running into Jon Mitchell, the Mayor of New Bedford, MA.  Jon and I lived in the same residence hall back during our freshman year of college.  Two mayors from one little dorm – not bad.  He was a great guy then, and is still a great guy now.  Hope he doesn’t move to New Rochelle, because I’m pretty sure he’d beat me.



9-11: Fifteen Years Later

twin-towersThis is the fifteenth anniversary of a day most of us will never forget . . . and should never forget.

At several local events organized to commemorate this occasion, I will deliver variations of the following remarks.


Remarks of Mayor Noam Bramson – September 11, 2016

Fifteen years is a long time. Time enough for children to grow into adults; for families that were broken to become whole again; for the skyline of lower Manhattan to rise once more. Scars heal.

As the horrific events of September 11, 2001 recede further into memory, becoming less a part of our daily experience and more a part of our history, it is fair to ask what the meaning of this 15th anniversary ought to be.

Why are we here? Why should we be here?

Certainly not for politics or partisanship, because this is a day that should unite all Americans and remind us of the many things we share.

And not also to debate the issues of war and peace, security and privacy, or any of the other serious questions that spring from our struggle against hatred and terrorism. There is a time and place for such debates, but it is not now.

I believe we are here — should be here — for just two simple reasons.

First, to honor the victims of 9-11 – and to honor also their families, whose pain may ease with time, but never fully disappears.

It is for all us to lift up our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and friends, whose lives were shattered that day — to lift up the First Responders who protect us close to home, and the armed forces that protect us around the world. To continue holding them in our prayers and in our hearts, never forgetting their sacrifice, always demonstrating our profound respect and gratitude. Surely we can do this.

And there is a second reason: to remember that we are as good a community and country as we choose to be.

This is the strongest nation on the face of the Earth. Nobody knocks us out. Don’t get me wrong – there are many dangers. But there is no threat from outside that can take away our liberties, that can take away our belief in the God-given equality of humankind, that can take away our faith in the possibility of a more just and loving world.

These things rise or fall on the strength of our own convictions and the power of our own example. We choose.

That is both the blessing and the burden of American exceptionalism, and a challenge to every man, woman, and child who looks with pride to the flag of our country.

So let this be not only an occasion to remember and to mourn – although it should be that. May it also be a day to renew the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood that always make us stronger together from sea to shining sea.

God bless the United States of America and God bless all people of good will.


Separated at Birth?

SeparatedMy latest piece in the Huffington Post is mainly tongue-in-cheek, but like all things in this unsettling election year, it’s hard to know where the joke ends and the tragedy begins.

Click here to read or copy this address into your browser:

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