March 7, 2024
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul is a Guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe to Discuss Five-Point Plan to Protect New Yorkers on the Subway

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul is a Guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe to Discuss Five-Point Plan to Protect New Yorkers on the Subway

Governor Hochul: "If you feel better walking past someone in a uniform to make sure that someone doesn't bring a knife or a gun on the subway, then that's exactly why I did it. I want to change the psychology around crime in New York City because we are the safest big city in America. I want people on the subways. It is safe. But I'm going to make sure people feel safe.”

Hochul: "My job is to protect the people of this state, and I'll do it. And I'm also going to demonstrate that Democrats fight crime as well. This narrative that Republicans have said and hijacked the story that we're soft on crime, that we defund the police – no. We care about civil liberties. We don't want over policing. We want to make sure that police operate within certain restraints, protect our citizens’ rights. But by God, I'm going to protect their lives and protect their sense of safety and security here in the City of New York.”

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul was a guest on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss her five-point plan to utilize state resources to protect New Yorkers on the subways. This includes surging State personnel to assist NYPD bag checks, a new program bill that would permit transit bans for individuals that assault other passengers, adding new cameras to protect conductor cabins, increasing coordination between District Attorneys and law enforcement, and increasing the number of Subway Co-Response Outreach (SCOUT) teams throughout the system – which will operate in addition to the existing Safe Options Support (SOS) teams.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Willie Geist, MSNBC: Joining us now is the Democratic Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul. Governor, thanks for being with us.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: First of all, look at the headlines, the newspaper of record, as Reverend Al likes to say for Morning Joe, the New York Post: Boots On the Ground. And then the Daily News: Soldiers in the Subway.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: Governor, no governor takes lightly calling up National Guard troops and sending them potentially into harm's way. What went into your decision to send National Guard and State Troopers down into the New York City subway?

Governor Hochul: I wanted to send reinforcements to the Mayor of New York, who has primary responsibility for policing the subways. But all of us know who've been on the subways, the subways are vast. And we have seen a number of crimes, and again, not statistically significant, but psychologically significant. And I want more people to go on the subways.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: Governor, by the way, thank you for saying that, because, people will say, oh, crime's at a 50 year low, and everything's wonderful. And then Willie will say why is it that all of my friends say don't go on the subway, or I go into a CVS store and the toothpaste is behind plastic, so thank you. It's not just numbers on the page. It's psychologically, do New Yorkers feel safe?

Governor Hochul: That is exactly what we're trying to fight here. I can show you all the statistics in the world and say, you should feel safe because the numbers are better, but you're the mom on the subway with your baby in a stroller.

You’re the parent putting your kid on the subway to go to high school. You're that senior citizen going to a doctor appointment. If you're anxious, then I'm the Governor of the State of New York, I'm concerned about it. And if you feel better walking past someone in a uniform to make sure that someone doesn't bring a knife or a gun on the subway, then that's exactly why I did it.

I want to change the psychology around crime in New York City because we are the safest big city in America. I want people on the subways. It is safe. But I'm going to make sure people feel safe.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: It is far and away the best way to get around New York. It's not even close. It always has been. Still ride the subway all the time. 1 train.

But I was saying to you in the break that over the last couple of years, you do notice that when we used to take the subway, we would stand up on the yellow line and look over and see if the train was coming. Everybody stands back. They're either against the back wall or they're against the post because of these stories we hear about getting pushed in front of a train. It doesn't happen a lot statistically, but it does happen. I guess the question for me is, this is the response to a problem. But what about the root of the problem? Why is there a little uptick in subway crime? Why are we seeing some of this?

Governor Hochul: We're still not at full capacity. We have about four million passengers a day. It's usually six or seven. I think when there's trains that are a little bit emptier, people feel more at ease to interact with others sometimes in a negative way, sometimes in a violent way. So when I can get capacity up there, we get the trains full again, the platforms full again, then crime does go down because that's why we saw such a spike during the pandemic.

There were not many people on it and the criminals feel at ease that no one's watching them – but they are watching. Also, part of my plan is every single subway train is now going to have cameras on it. That was not the case. I sped up the process, and now even our conductor's booths will now have cameras in there because we don't know who the perpetrator is or the person who slit the neck of a conductor just a week and a half ago.

I talked to the doctor who saved his life. What a great guy to be on the train and go save the life of a conductor, but that is not the norm. And I don't want people to think that is going to be normalized on the subways of the State of New York. We're going to make sure we take back our subways, make you feel safe again.

No stop and frisk. This is not punitive. This is more of a deterrent.

Jonathan Lemire, MSNBC: The F train, my local. But your move here has received some applause from perhaps unlucky sources. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas cheered this. And it has some pushback from civil liberty groups here in New York City who worry about the idea of the National Guard being on the subway. So can you explain to us a little more just exactly what their purview is?

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: Wait, why do they worry about it? I'm confused.

Jonathan Lemire, MSNBC: Just the idea that they don't think that the National Guard, soldiers, should be on the subway. That's their argument.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: Why?

Jonathan Lemire, MSNBC: Because they think that's a step too far. They don't think that's necessary.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: Step too far to what? Not necessary for what? I don't understand.

Jonathan Lemire, MSNBC: You'll have to take it up with them, Joe. I'm just relaying it here to the Governor.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: I'm Tom Hanks in Big. I don't understand. I don't understand.

Jonathan Lemire, MSNBC: I think there is a sense among some that they believe that soldiers, their place is not on New York City – streets of America, or subways of American City.

But the Governor obviously has made that decision. Can you tell us a little bit more about what their purview will be. How many soldiers? How long? What will their jurisdiction be? How do they work with the NYPD and transit police?

Governor Hochul: In coordination with the NYPD. As I said, they’re primary. This is their job there to protect the subways, but they need help right now. So I'll give them help as long as help is needed. I have 1,000 individuals. I don't have to keep them there long. I may keep them there a long time. I'm not going to tell the criminals the day I'm stopping this because then they'll be back the next day.

That's not a good crime prevention strategy. But also, to the naysayers, I'm reading an article where people are saying, Hochul's saying, is one of my plans, that if you've committed a crime on the subway, you've harmed another passenger or conductor, you should not be able to take the subway again, right?

I don't want to sit next to someone who just harmed someone last year and got out. So the people are saying I'm going to be harassing people and going to be stopping people. That is not the objective at all. I'm here to protect people, particularly people in communities of color who are riding the subways in high proportion because they don't have the luxury of vehicles. They're getting to their low wage jobs.

I want them to be safe. That's why I'm doing this. So people will criticize everything we do. Get in line, I say as the Governor of New York, they're always saying something. But all I know is my job is to protect the people of this state, and I'll do it. And I'm also going to demonstrate that Democrats fight crime as well.

So this narrative that Republicans have said and hijacked the story that we're soft on crime, that we defund the police. No. We care about civil liberties. We don't want over policing. We want to make sure that police operate within certain restraints, protect our citizens’ rights. But by God, I'm going to protect their lives and protect their sense of safety and security here in the City of New York.

Reverend Al Sharpton, MSNBC: Governor, first of all, it's good to fight crime and certainly those in communities of color are disproportionately the victims of crime. But at the same time, breakdown, because you and I had a conversation, that this is not going to lead to stop and frisk and that the National Guard will not be interfering directly on the subways.

Because when we deal with the Jordan Neely cases and others, we don't want over policing, but we need people protected. How do we protect that we don't go back into stop and frisk and violating people's civil liberties, but at the same time, relax people like brother Joe and I that we're fighting crime?

Governor Hochul: I take the concerns you raised so seriously, and that is why they are a deterrent. They're standing there as a deterrent. The police will be inspecting bags. Every other person – I'm not even going to say what it is, but there's a scheduled stop of individuals to look at their bags based on numbers. Not who the person is, not how they look, but there is a thought-out process to make sure that we're not selecting individuals, we're not profiling people.

None of that's going to happen here. And if it does, I'll stop it because that's not the objective. The objective is to restore the sense of safety and security in our subways, make people know that they're going to get to their destination without any harm.

And these individuals are not even going through the bags. The National Guard are not going through your bags. They're there as a port function. That is it. And I think it's going to do a lot to calm down the fears right now, the anxiety, which is running high. And that's important to me. And it doesn't have to be permanent. But let's just see how long we need to do this.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: Let me ask you about bail reform. It's been a big debate for several years. It seems we read stories in the paper all the time about, somebody commits a crime, they're out the next day, commit another crime. Where are we in that debate? And for New Yorkers that want a tougher bail system that maybe they think we overcorrected, what do you say to them?

Governor Hochul: I say I've corrected the bail system. Back in 2019, my predecessor and the legislature at the time did a series of reforms. I'm sure they were well intended, but we've now seen the effect of what happens with the high rate of recidivism because people are just being cycled in and out, in and out.

Again, I want to protect people's rights. They have rights, and I will, as the Governor, I'll protect them. But here's the bottom line. I changed the law last year. With a lot of resistance, I held the Budget up one month late to get the changes I wanted to give judges the discretion that they had taken away from them to look at the whole body of evidence.

Did this person do this before? Are they a repeat offender? What is the likelihood they'll do it again? Consider all these factors and we changed it starting last May. I guarantee you're going to see different outcomes and statistics this time next year on the recidivism rate and people are not going to be cycled in and out.

But also, there's a whole system here, Joe. It's the DAs and the judges. Already I'm seeing a disparity in how the judges are applying this between Upstate New York and the City of New York. So that says to me the law is correct, the judges have the tools they need, it's how it's being applied. And I'm calling them out on this.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: On that point, the NYPD put out some numbers yesterday, 38 individuals arrested for assault in the transit system last year were linked to 1,126 other crimes across the city. 542 people arrested for shoplifting committed 7,600 crimes in our city. Mayor Adams saying we don't have a surge in crime, we have a surge in recidivism. So for people who live in New York City and can't follow all the ins and outs of the bail system, what do you say to them? How do we change that? How do we get those people who are committing crime again and may commit a crime in the subway today and be back in the subway tomorrow? How do you stop that?

Governor Hochul: The mayor is absolutely right. We're in full alignment that it's not – there's a small number of individuals. We get them held, crime is going to drop dramatically. And that's our objective here. That's why I fought so hard to get the laws changed. I need the judges to apply them. I need the district attorneys to know I've empowered them now to stop these individuals from cycling in and out of our system.

It doesn't make sense that this has been the way it was. That's why I had to stand up and fix it. And now we'll see the proof in the next year or so, because we only literally just changed it a few months ago.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: 750 members of the National Guard, 250 State Troopers, additionally now in the New York City subway system.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC: Thank you, Governor.

Willie Geist, MSNBC: New York Governor Kathy Hochul. Governor, thanks for being here today. We appreciate it.

Governor Hochul: Thank you. Great to see everybody.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640