De Blasio takes swipe at Yang for ignorance of NYC issues

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Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that his successor “better damn well understand how New York City works” in a direct swipe at Andrew Yang, one of the front-runners in the Democratic primary to replace him.

Hizzoner’s remarks come at the end of a week full of gaffes and stumbles for Yang, a novice to municipal politics, who badly botched questions over his plans for a city takeover of the MTA — a central promise of his campaign — and then questions from a Post reporter about high-profile police reforms.

“The answer to your question is to compare them against history,” de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer during his weekly appearance on the public radio station, when asked to help voters evaluate which of his possible replacements in the June Democratic primary will actually enact their platforms.

“Who’s been involved in New York City, who’s been involved in our neighborhoods, who’s solved problems before,” Hizzoner continued. “Who has a track record on the issues that people care about? I really think that matters.”

Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang had to have an NYPD cop supporter whisper to him what 50a was when asked by a Post reporter.

Even then, de Blasio wasn’t quite done.

Referencing the coronavirus pandemic, he added: “The next mayor is going to have to navigate a very challenging environment and they better damn well understand how New York City works.”

Yang had never run for office in New York City before — or even voted for mayor, records show — but rocketed into the top tier of the June 22nd mayoral primary on the strength of his name recognition and his ebullient personality on the campaign trail.

Since then, Yang’s polling numbers have ticked down as voters have focused on the race, crime and violence in the city became a central campaign issue — and amid an onslaught of criticism over Yang’s handling of sexist remarks from supporters and his unwillingness to provide detailed answers about how he would manage the city.

When pressed about his inexperience, Yang frequently said that he would hire another mayoral hopeful — former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who served as a ‘Mr. Fix-It’ for both the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations — as his top deputy mayor.

She shot back that the suggestion was ‘sexist’ and went on to net endorsements from The New York Times and The Daily News, giving her campaign new life.

Despite the woes, surveys continue to show that Yang remains a neck-and-neck battle with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for the lead in the race.

The other 2021 hopefuls took swings at Yang on Friday over his incorrect statements about key city functions and lack of knowledge on major issues — after a string of gaffes that included admitting he was not familiar with much-debated changes to state law that allowed for the release of police discipline records, implied the Big Apple does not have shelters for domestic violence victims (it does), claimed the MTA does not report its debt levels (it does, regularly) and controls bridges and tunnels outside the city (it does not).

“It says to me he’s not willing to do the basics of understanding what is happening in this city,” Adams said.

Another contender, former top de Blasio aide Maya Wiley, joined the chorus of criticism.

“Can you imagine a woman running to be the mayor of the largest city in the nation not actually knowing or understanding how the police department works, how disciplinary works, what we have in terms of domestic violence shelters,” she asked, incredulously. “I mean, you know, let’s be honest, I don’t think that would fly and frankly I don’t think it should.”

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