Mayor Eric Adams likes to say he’s “completely flawed” and thick-skinned enough to withstand the inevitable criticism that his job of leading the nation’s largest city brings.
However, when it comes to the previous administration’s thorns, all bets are apparently off.
On Wednesday, Mr. Adams attacked former mayor Bill de Blasio in an involuntary, seven-minute tirade, accusing him of leaving New York City in disarray, and insisting Mr de Blasio’s former top aides have no right to make it public. he did. Criticizing the way Mr. Adams runs the city.
“I am so tired of the previous administration and its antics,” Mr. Adams said at the end of a routine press conference on expanding the city’s electric vehicle fleet.
Mr Adams, a moderate Democrat entering his second year in office, said he had recently called Mr de Blasio to complain about the attacks.
“I don’t remember an administration in history that said we wanted a full frontal attack in the first year of an administration,” Adams said.
And then Mr. Adams returned the favor. He shed light on Mr de Blasio’s track record as mayor, and Mr Adams’s handling of the pandemic from former city officials argued that his criticisms of the city’s schools and the violence at Rikers were highly unusual and unhelpful, especially when they “leave home”. It’s a complete mess.”
It was Mr. Adams’ breathtaking flank against Mr. de Blasio and his allies, and one of the hottest rifts among Democrats in New York since Mr. de Blasio accused Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of vengeful action against the city in 2015. Mr de Blasio, now a visiting professor at New York University, has rarely criticized Mr Adams, but senior officials of his administration have expressed concern about some of Mr Adams’ policies.
Mr. Adams specifically chose a former aide: Bill Neidhardt, who was press secretary in Mr. de Blasio’s second term and was Mr. Adams’ vocal critic. Mr Adams described Mr Neidhardt as “the worst communicator in the history of communications”.
Mr Neidhardt, who now runs a political communications company, said Wednesday that it was fair to criticize the mayor’s record.
“When Mayor Adams cuts school budgets, raises rents and repeats right-wing speeches, every New Yorker has a right to speak out,” said Mr Neidhardt. “Instead of whining and attacking his own electorate, the mayor should deal with the crises faced by the working people in our city every day. Grow.”
Mr. Adams faced a lot of criticism in his first year, including allegations of nepotism in hiring practices and budget cuts in schools and libraries. He faced a new wave of anger Tuesday when he said there was “no room left at the inn” for migrants arriving in waves from the country’s southern border.
Mr. Adams’ harsh comment on the de Blasio administration came despite the two being political allies who came to power in the same Brooklyn power circles. Mr de Blasio quietly supported Mr Adams during the competitive Democratic mayoral primary election in 2021 and worked behind the scenes to help him get elected.
Still, major differences emerged. Mr. Adams has decided not to extend Mr. de Blasio’s popular preschool program to 3-year-olds; In Mr. de Blasio’s timeline he expressed his doubts about the closure of the prison complex on Rikers Island; He brought back a controversial anti-gun police unit disbanded under Mr de Blasio.
Mr de Blasio did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
As mayor, Mr. Adams has repeatedly criticized the de Blasio administration for leaving him with major problems, including declining garbage collection and higher crime rates across the city government. Last summer, Mr. Adams told The New York Post that he was “shocked” to learn “how bad this place was” after reviewing city operations.
On Wednesday, Mr. Adams continued to argue that he had inherited a mess.
“They had eight years to do their job – eight years to fix Rikers, eight years to deal with crime, eight years to tackle education, eight years for early childhood education of children with disabilities, eight years to fix NYCHA.” He told reporters. “They had that much time to do their work.”
“Well did they do it?” asked a reporter.
“No,” said the mayor, laughing.
Stu Loeser, press secretary for former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, said he understood why Mr. Adams was disappointed with the criticism from de Blasio officials, adding that Mr. Bloomberg has a policy of not criticizing Mr. de Blasio and encourages his employees. resist doing so.
“Mike took the job incredibly seriously, and the idea of undermining someone who was replacing him and was also trying to do what was right for the city was damned for him,” he said.
Mr Adams said Mr de Blasio was “extremely helpful” and that his frustration was directed at others from his administration who wanted to see Mr Adams fail. In a phone call with Mr de Blasio, Mr Adams said he told the former mayor, “I deserve better.”
Mr. Adams, who has been in public life in New York City for nearly three decades as an advocate for police reform and an elected official, claimed that he would not complain about the next mayor after he left office.
“You won’t hear from me,” he said. “When I’m done? I’m sitting in the sun.”