NEW YORK (AP) — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio sparred, clashed and laughed with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday when the Democratic presidential hopeful faced the conservative TV titan who has disparaged him for years.
For one hour on cable news’ top-rated show, their raised voices overlapped as they disagreed on taxation of the wealthy, gun control, abortion laws, policing, the environment — and just about everything else.
Hannity summed up the encounter by telling the mayor: “I’m never going to agree with you. You drive me crazy!”
De Blasio is among a wide field of Democrats seeking the nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in next year’s election.
Hannity ended the show by jokingly suggesting the two men bet on whether New York public schoolchildren, if asked, would vote for the healthy, vegetarian “Meatless Mondays” de Blasio has announced for this fall — or favorite fast foods Hannity brand-named.
But they also tackled the thorny issues facing Americans that are far from funny.
The host took aim at de Blasio’s vow to “tax the hell out of the wealthy” to address income inequality
“Do you think that my money that I’ve earned and saved is in the wrong hands?” Hannity asked.
The mayor countered: “Do you think right now your viewers feel that it’s OK that the wealthy have as much as they have and pay as little in taxes as they do? Do you think it’s OK that big corporations pay nothing in taxes? Amazon is one.”
De Blasio wants wealthy Americans to pay 70 percent of income in taxes.
Hannity challenged de Blasio to explain why the mayor favors offering tax-funded health care to immigrants in New York City who are in the United States illegally.
“I want everybody who’s here (in New York) to get health care because what’s happening right now? Folks go to the emergency room because they don’t have a doctor, and who’s paying for it? The same taxpayers,” he said.
Hannity has often taken shots at the liberal mayor of the nation’s largest city, dubbing him “comrade de Blasio” and blasting his approach to matters ranging from the economy to Trump.
De Blasio, meanwhile, has criticized Fox News, which he sees as divisive. But the mayor said earlier this week that he would appear on “Hannity” in hopes of reaching Americans of all political persuasions, though the channel’s viewers tend to be conservative.
As they kept cutting each other off on Wednesday, trying to finish sentences, the host told his guest, “This isn’t your show!”
Earlier this week, however, Hannity said on his show that he welcomed de Blasio’s appearance.
“I give him a lot of credit for saying ‘yes,'” Hannity said.
Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.