New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
said in an interview with New York Magazinethat mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio was running a campaign that he characterised as “class-warfare and racist.”
Bloomberg said in the interview that the New York Times was “right” in their endorsements of Democrat Christine Quinn and Republican Joe Lhota in the mayoral race. Then he was asked by New York Magazine’s Chris Smith about de Blasio.
Bloomberg said de Blasio was running a “racist” campaign, specifically pointing to de Blasio’s highlighting of his family on the trail and in campaign ads. His wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, often campaigns with him, and their teenage son, Dante, has appeared in campaign ads — including a memorable one that is often credited as a major part of de Blasio’s rise in the polls.
Bloomberg also ripped de Blasio’s strategy as one of “division.”
Here’s the exchange:
Q: Then there’s Bill de Blasio, who’s become the Democratic front-runner. He has in some ways been running a class-warfare campaign —
Class-warfare and racist.
I mean he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It’s comparable to me pointing out I’m Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about.
But his whole campaign is that there are two different cities here. And I’ve never liked that kind of division. The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help. Tearing people apart with this “two cities” thing doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s a destructive strategy for those you want to help the most. He’s a very populist, very left-wing guy, but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it’s one group paying for services for the other.
De Blasio’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson said that he would respond to Bloomberg’s comments at an afternoon campaign event.
Bloomberg’s published comments come just three days before the Democratic primary on Tuesday. De Blasio has been the overwhelming front-runner in recent polls. In a Quinnipiac poll released last week, de Blasio led with 43% of the Democratic vote, which would be enough to avoid a runoff.
Bloomberg hasn’t endorsed anyone as his potential successor, but he is expected to endorse the Republican Lhota if de Blasio does indeed win the Democratic nomination.
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