Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday staunchly defended his impromptu trek to Germany to , saying all of the “issues” in New York are being dealt with in his absence.
“All the issues that need to be attended to, I am attending to every day regardless of where I am,” de Blasio said during his weekly radio appearance on WYNC, after he was asked about criticisms that he had left the city in turmoil.
De Blasio after skipping an NYPD swearing-in ceremony made somber by the earlier this week.
The mayor defended the last-minute announcement of his jaunt by saying he didn’t want to make it until he knew when Familia’s funeral would be.
“We were going to announce it earlier in the week and then of course we had the horrible shooting of Officer Familia and it was important to focus on that and deal with that painful reality,” he said. “Obviously I did not want to do anything until I knew when her services would be.”
Asked whether he was trying to paint himself as foil for President Trump as part of his re-election campaign, he claimed it was never part of his plan.
“When I started thinking about re-election, I didn’t think there would be a President Trump. But then Trump became a reality and I think it was incumbent upon me as leader of the biggest city in the country to set a tone and say we are not going to be intimidated by President Trump, and we are not going to turn away from our values,” he said.
The mayor said he was invited to the G-20 protest by the government of Hamburg.
“[It] is run by a social democratic party and the Green Party and they invited me as a
colleague,” he said. “They wanted to represent the fact that there are variety of issues that affect this planet. In particular climate change,” he said.
“This invitation … was not something that was expected. It’s not something I talk to anyone about. It came in and I was honored. I thought it was an important moment to stand up and speak out for these [progressive] values.”
Describing the scene in Hamburg, which has been beset by violent protests, he said: “It’s a very dynamic situation. There’s a lot of protesters, the vast majority of who are peaceful.”
“There are a small group of violent protesters and his and it has been a big challenge the local authorities deal with that … I am very moved by Hamburg’s choice (to host the event), but obviously it’s a very tense situation here.”
Hizzoner’s overseas jaunt is being paid for by the rally’s organizers — as is the tab for three City Hall staffers.
He argued that taxpayers aren’t getting stuck with the security costs of his trip to Germany because cops have to be with him at all times wherever he goes.
“I have 24/7 security,” he said. “It does not matter where I am in the country or the world, I am going to have that security.”
But he didn’t say how many cops accompanied him to Germany — and he didn’t address the costs of hotels, transportation and meals for his detail.