Bill de Blasio has finally admitted he failed as mayor of New York City – but still offered toe-curling advice to Joe Biden.
The Democrat, who led the Big Apple from 2014 to 2021, said ‘when it comes to being unpopular, I’m somewhat of an expert’.
He pointed out how he had ‘one of the loudest megaphones in the country’ but ‘failed to use it properly’ during his time in office.
But he still felt the need to point President Biden in the right direction, offering advice to boost his approval ratings.
De Blasio’s intervention comes just days after he was rumbled for staying at a $600-a-night Brooklyn hotel while his home is renovated.
This is despite him managing to accrue $2.5 million in debt, including $320,000 owed back to taxpayers for misusing his NYPD security detail.
The former mayor was widely disliked during his time in office for a raft of failed policies including on homelessness and crime.
Ex NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said that President Biden should repeat his vision for the US ‘incessantly’ and focus on issues like inflation and public safety in an op-ed for The Atlantic
Biden, 79, is facing a nationwide disapproval rating of 52.3 percent as surging prices hit a 41-year high and pandemic-era crime levels continue unabated in some cities
Morning Consult’s Political Intelligence quarterly tracking shows President Joe Biden’s approval rating is underwater in 40 states – and by double digits in 33
‘When it comes to being unpopular, I’m unfortunately somewhat of an expert,’ de Blasio said in an op-ed published in The Atlantic on Tuesday.
De Blasio said the president should focus on his messaging.
‘As the mayor of New York City, I had one of the loudest megaphones in the country, and I failed to use it properly. Biden’s bully pulpit is a thousand times more powerful.
‘He needs to use it to show that he truly empathizes with everyday Americans on the issues they care most about, such as inflation, public safety, and affordable health care,’ he said.
The 60-year-old praised Biden for ‘bringing the economy back’ and spearheading a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.
Why was former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio so disliked?
De Blasio on September 25, 2021
The two-term mayor was criticized for restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was sued by several businesses for ‘arbitrary and capricious’ rules that required restaurants and bars to check patrons’ vaccine cards.
Parents also hit back at the mayor for repeated school closures that interrupted two different school years and forced parents to contend with a disorganized online learning system.
Wife’s $1.1 million city staff
In 2020, he and his wife Chirlane McCray came under fire after it was revealed that McCray – who headed up the city’s mental health program – had eight full-time employees who cost the city a combined $1.1 million in annual salaries, including a $70,000 videographer who filmed McCray baking cookies at home.
Though crime was at a historic low in 2020, the city saw ‘significant upticks’ in homicides, shootings, burglaries and car thefts.
There was a 97% rise in shootings and a 44% rise in murders, with many faulting bail reform laws championed by Democrats.
Homelessness hit near-record levels under de Blasio’s leadership, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, the mayor sparred with former Gov. Cuomo about his plans to move 8,000 homeless people living in Midtown Manhattan hotels to permanent shelters.
De Blasio said he had ben waiting for Cuomo’s authorization, which the governor denied was even necessary.
‘People don’t like him and he doesn’t care’
Overall, de Blasio failed to counter the perception that he doesn’t care about his critics, a former aide said.
He kept going to a gym 11 mi away from the mayor’s home at Gracie Mansion even after he was slammed for the effects of his motorcade on the environment.
At one point last year, he was less popular among New Yorkers than former governor and accused sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo and former President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, he admitted, ‘When it comes to being unpopular, I’m unfortunately somewhat of an expert.’
‘He’s likable, relatable, and reassuring. And as they used to say about George W. Bush, I’m pretty sure he’d be fun to have a beer with,’ the former mayor said in The Atlantic.
He compared his own mistakes during his eight-year tenure as mayor to Biden’s own missteps as president.
‘I failed to give New Yorkers a clear sense of where I was taking them. I lost my connection with the people because I mistook real policy for real popularity,’ he said.
‘I let a focus on individual initiatives, no matter how noble or substantive, distract me from offering an overarching vision for the future.’
‘I should have walked among them rather than just working for them behind closed doors,’ he said.
‘I fear Biden is making the same mistake. He’s handling crucial problems as they arise, yet without illustrating to the public what a better America looks like.’
De Blasio, who served as mayor of New York City from 2014 to 2021, argued the behind-the-scenes work needs to be sold the public more effectively.
‘Keeping things together, even in the midst of a crisis, isn’t the same as moving things forward. It does not answer the public’s yearning for a sense of direction and it certainly doesn’t make the case for continued Democratic control of Congress.’
De Blasio faced widespread criticism for his handling of crime in New York City, which shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was also slammed for pandemic restrictions like school closures and the ‘Key to NYC’ pass that required businesses to check customers’ vaccine status.
He was sued by several businesses for the ‘arbitrary and capricious’ rules.
Despite accomplishing many of his progressive policy objectives, including a minimum wage hike and universal pre-K, the Democrat couldn’t shake off the perception that he was arrogant and sanctimonious about his policies.
‘The issue is people don’t like him, and he doesn’t care,’ former de Blasio adviser Rebecca Katz told Vox in 2019.
‘In terms of New York City being a beacon of progressive leadership, he’s made some really strong strides, but his personality has left some to be desired.’
A Sienna poll last October found him to be less popular among New Yorkers than Donald Trump and former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who was already embroiled in a sex scandal that would see him leave office a month later.
But that isn’t stopping him from dishing out a few tips to Biden, who is facing a nationwide disapproval rating of 52.3 percent as surging prices hit a 41-year high and pandemic-era crime levels continue unabated.
Homelessness hit near-record levels under de Blasio’s leadership. Last year, the mayor sparred with former Gov. Cuomo about his plans to move 8,000 homeless people living in Midtown Manhattan hotels to permanent shelters.
De Blasio said he had ben waiting for Cuomo’s authorization, which the governor denied was even necessary.
The Columbia University graduate has also been criticized for his indifference to public perception.
He kept going to the gym at a YMCA in Park Slope, Brooklyn – about 11 mi from Gracie Mansion in Manhattan – even after he was slammed for the effects of his motorcade on the environment.
He was also taken to task for appointing his wife, Chirlane McCray, to lead the city’s mental health program ThriveNYC.
In 2020, the couple came under fire after it was revealed that McCray had eight full-time employees who cost the city a combined $1.1 million in annual salaries, including a $70,000 videographer who filmed McCray baking cookies at home.
‘That article [referring to the initial The City story] didn’t take into account the work that’s being done. This work is about the needs of the people of this city,’ he said, before assuring the public that his wife’s staff would be subject to pandemic-era cuts just like any other department.
Some Twitter users mocked the idea of de Blasio offering advice to the man who beat him in the 2020 presidential primaries
Over the weekend, it was revealed that de Blasio and McCray were staying at the lavish New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, where rooms go for as much as $5,000 a night.
The couple left Gracie Mansion after de Blasio left office at the end of December, but have been staying at the hotel while their Park Slope, Brooklyn home undergoes renovations.
The former mayor’s $2.5 million debt includes $300,000 in legal bills from being defended in a probe of his fundraising activities. Another $200,000 is from previous campaign accounts that owe money, the Post reported.
The Post reported that de Blasio has not yet reimbursed taxpayers nearly $320,000 that the city’s Department of Investigation determined he owes for misusing his NYPD security detail.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife have been living large at a pricey, four-star hotel in Brooklyn since he left office months ago, despite having racked up $2.5 million in debt
The couple has been spotted with their taxpayer-funded NYPD security detail by their side at the lavish New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge (pictured)
The 667-room hotel at Brooklyn Bridge Hotel, with suites that cost from $600 to $5,000 a night, features a rooftop, an indoor pool, a fitness center, restaurants and waterfront views
De Blasio is eligible to collect a six-figure pension and also receives rental income on the two Brooklyn homes he owns, but the Post reported last year that financial struggles forced him to take out a second mortgage on one of the homes which cost him $615,342.
Political critics of de Blasio told the Post that the former mayor’s ‘suite life’ wreaks of hypocrisy.
‘He’s a hypocrite living like a one percenter, and it raises plenty of red flags,’ Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) said. ‘Who’s paying for this? Like most people, when I renovated my house, I did it piecemeal and lived in one room at a time. I certainly wouldn’t stay at a top-of-the-line hotel like the Brooklyn Marriott, especially if I’m in debt.’
When de Blasio ran for mayor prior to being elected in 2013, he promised votes that he’d put an end to the ‘income inequality’ that created a ‘Tale of two Cities.’
In his op-ed on Tuesday, the former mayor urged Biden, 79, to focus on his messaging and his public perception while keeping his agenda intact.
Biden’s approval rating is just 42 percent, according to poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight.
A recent Morning Consult Political Intelligence quarterly tracking shows that the president’s job performance has worsened in the first quarter of 2022 in most states – including in deep red areas as well as battleground states that were pivotal to his 2020 victory.
The only states where Biden isn’t underwater are California, Washington, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii and the District of Columbia.
But even in those states, the net approval has dramatically shrunk since this time last year.
A new poll of Massachusetts voters shows that those ‘unenrolled’ – or independent – have a 52% disapproval of President Joe Biden
Biden has consistently slipped in polls, most recently showing a 40 percent national approval rating in several different surveys ahead of the 2022 midterm elections
In Biden’s home state of Delaware, which he won by nearly 20 points in 2020, his net approval – the share of voters who approve subtracted by the share who disapprove – is only at 4 percent.
The state with the lowest approval of Biden is West Virginia, where his net disapproval is at 50 percent, and the state with the highest job numbers for the president is California, where his net approval is 19 percent.
Biden’s approval is lower than disapproval in 40 states, compared to last year when the numbers for the first few months of his presidency showed only 17 states where disapproval outranked approval – and two states where it was tied at zero either way.
Even voters in Massachusetts are souring on the president.
While the deep blue state has a higher approval rating for the president than the rest of the country, it is still only at 46 percent, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released Monday.
The consumer price index increased 8.5% in March from a year ago, a 41-year high. The issue is likely to affect Democrats’ success in this year’s midterm elections
The latest data showed the price of basic necessities like gas and groceries rising sharply
The poll surveyed 765 registered voters, and just two more said they disapproved than approved for a split of 354 to 352.
Biden’s popularity, or lack thereof, is likely to hurt Democrats in this year’s midterm elections.
‘When independents in Massachusetts are that negative on an incumbent Democratic president who won this state going away, one wonders what an independent swing-state voter in Ohio, Nevada, or New Hampshire is thinking,’ said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
‘It poses a real challenge for the midterm elections for Democrats.’
One key issue affecting Biden’s favorability is inflation, which hit a 41-year high of 8.5 percent last month as soaring gas and housing prices hurt consumers.
The latest data showed the price of basic necessities rising sharply, with groceries up 10 percent from a year ago, rent rising 4.4 percent, clothing up 6.8 percent, and energy costs rising 32 percent.
The Biden administration has sought to shift blame for the rising prices to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose ongoing invasion of Ukraine has shaken global oil supplies.