Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own staff have excoriated him in public letters and with an unprecedented march across the Brooklyn Bridge over his handling of citywide protests — but that didn’t stop Hizzoner from declaring Friday that he’s the nation’s greatest mayor.
“This is the strongest mayoralty in the country, in every sense, and the strongest city in the country, in every sense, and we can persevere through all sorts of challenges and we will. So I’m quite confident in what we can do in the next year and a half,” the term-limited mayor boasted at his daily City Hall press briefing.
And he said anyone who doubts that doesn’t have a firm grasp on reality.
“I think anyone who questions the ability of this city government to do what we’re here to do — and my ability as mayor to use all the tools of city government even in a time of crisis — doesn’t really understand the reality of New York City,” de Blasio claimed.
The mayor was responding to a tsunami of criticism from former allies — including two of the city’s most prominent black politicians, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilman Donovan Richards — over his handling of protests in the wake of the Minneapolis police-custody killing of George Floyd.
“It’s been a very difficult few weeks, a lot of passions, a lot of deep feeling, a lot of strong views. I don’t take any of it lightly,” de Blasio said of the criticism — before dismissing it.
Richards, a lifelong resident of southeast Queens who chairs the Council’s public safety committee and is running for Queens borough president, quickly fired back on Twitter.
“Check your privilege, Mr. Mayor,” wrote Richards (D-Queens), who is black, of the white de Blaiso.
He later added: “I was born and raised in Southeast Queens with multiple NYPD encounters. Including being stopped and frisked at 13 years old with guns drawn on me. Name your first NYPD experience @NYCMayor.”
“Is it time to remove this white man from office? #askingforafriend,” Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) tweeted.
Williams, a Brooklyn native who last week accused the mayor of hiding behind his black wife and children, Tweeted: “Oh, please do splain to us kind Mr. Mayor sir. For the record: I am city-wide elected official, after serving on the @NYCCouncilI was educated in the NYC Public School System, Pre-school to MastersAnd, BTW, I was born, raised and spent my entire life here….how about you?” Williams wrote.
De Blasio, a devoted Boston Red Sox fan, was born in Manhattan but raised in Massachusetts. He returned to New York to attend Columbia University.
De Blasio’s latest dismissal of criticism come just days after current and former de Blasio staffers marched from City Hall to Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza — the scene of a bloody confrontation between cops and protestors last week — to upbraid the man many of them still call boss.
That march came days after a largely black crowd of mourners turned their backs on de Blasio as he spoke at a Cadman Plaza memorial for Floyd.