Americans have seen Black Lives Matter murals pop up in cities all across the country — they're painted on streets, buildings, placards, you name it. New York City has seen them on the streets around all five boroughs.
Interestingly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted this week that he decided the BLM murals would not have to go through the normal permitting process. But he is still forcing pro-police and pro-Trump groups go through the bureaucracy to get the government's OK to put out their political messages in the same format, the New York Post first reported.
What's going on?
The city has come under fire for allegedly blocking groups the mayor disagrees with politically from creating murals in the same fashion as the BLM movement.
The conservative, pro-Trump Women for America First is suing de Blasio and the city Department of Transportation for allowing a BLM mural to be painted in front of Trump Tower but ignoring and essentially blocking their group from exercising the same form of expression, the Post reported late last month.
In the wake of the lawsuit, the mayor has faced repeated questions about an apparent double standard.
On Monday, de Blasio revealed that the city did, in fact, ignore its own application process for public art projects in order to allow Black Lives Matter to paint murals around the city while still forcing groups like Women for America and the pro-cop organization Blue Lives Matter to wade through the government process of getting a permit for a public mural.
He began by claiming that the city has not said "no" to anyone. Instead, he said the groups have been told, "If you want to apply, you can apply, but there's a process."
But then he revealed that the rules do not apply to organizations and groups that are part of a movement that he believes "transcends all normal realities." The statement was reminiscent of his claim in July defending putting Black Lives Matter murals on the streets in each of the boroughs because BLM "transcends any notion of politics" — including on the street in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, which de Blasio helped paint.
"The fact is," de Blasio attempted to explain Monday, "what I decided to do with the Black Lives Matter murals — and this came out of a meeting at Gracie Mansion weeks ago with community leaders and activists who said this would be such an important thing for this city to declare officially — that is something that again transcends all normal realities because we are at a moment of history when that had to be said and done, that's a decision I made."
So, any chance any other group will get the special treatment Black Lives Matter received?
Not according to Hizzoner: "The normal process continues for anyone who wants to apply."