New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and his multiracial family responded last weekend to accusations from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that his campaign is “racist.”
In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Bloomberg called de Blasio’s campaign “class warfare and racist.”
“I mean he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support,” Bloomberg said, referring to campaign ads featuring de Blasio’s son, Dante. “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.”
De Blasio called the mayor’s comments “very, very unfortunate.” He said he is “exceedingly proud” of his family.
“All I can say is, I hope the mayor will reconsider what he said,” said de Blasio. “I hope he'll realize that it was inappropriate, and I think the people of this city are ready for us to move forward together."
De Blasio’s campaign has pointed out the huge disparity in wealth within the city, a message that Bloomberg calls destructive.
“His whole campaign is that there are two different cities here,” Bloomberg said. “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.”
“We are living a tale of two cities, and ignoring it isn’t going to move us forward,” de Blasio responded. “Forty-six percent of New Yorkers are living at or near the poverty line. People are unable to afford to live in their own neighborhoods anymore.”