New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called out Uber executive David Plouffe's "bias" in defending the company from increased city regulations on CBS This Morning Thursday, failing to recognize the irony given his strong financial connections to the taxi industry.
Plouffe called de Blasio's argument that the city could not handle the influx of cars with the company's growth "complete nonsense" on CBS Tuesday, saying reduced congestion would be brought about by fewer people driving their personal cars.
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"With all due respect to Mr. Plouffe, he always has a very strong financial interest here in the company and he's speaking with that bias," de Blasio said.
Later in the interview, co-host Gayle King brought up de Blasio's conflict of interest since the taxi industry donated $350,000 to his mayoral campaign in 2013.
"That's not the point," he said. "This is, to me, a question of what's right and in the public interest. Again, Uber has grown intensely in this city, and that's great and they provide a service that a lot of people take advantage of, but there still has to be some balance in this equation."
The public relations fight over Uber is something of a civil war for the Democratic Party. Plouffe is a longtime Democratic party strategist, and de Blasio is a Democrat who has embraced a strongly liberal platform for his administration.
An escalating war of words between de Blasio and Uber came to a head over his plan to cap the number of vehicles the company could operate in the city. Wednesday, his administration announced it had backed off the proposal under intense backlash, instead opting for "a four-month study on the effect of Uber and other for-hire vehicle operators" on the city's traffic, according to the New York Times.
Kate Upton and other celebrities voiced support for Uber and its expansion of transportation choices for New Yorkers. The panel of MSNBC's Morning Joe, a show based in New York, criticized de Blasio's stance for "transparent politics" and "standing in the way of progress."
Thursday, de Blasio went on to make his push for increased regulation of the company to address what he called pollution and congestion problems. He also revealed he had never taken an Uber himself.
Host Norah O'Donnell brought up the trolling "De Blasio's Uber" button the company recently unveiled, which told users that no cars were available or the wait was extremely long. The public relations ploy did not seem to amuse him.
"They have a lot of money," he said. "Like many big corporations, they think they can get their way through using a lot of money, and we don't accept that concept. That's not what a democracy's about."