Eric Adams, the mayor of the nation’s most populous city, is fond of saying that he is “perfectly flawed” and has a thick enough skin to handle the inevitable criticism that comes with the job of managing the nation’s most populous city.
When it comes to jabs from the previous administration, though, it seems like anything may happen at this point.
Mr. Adams unleashed a seven-minute rant against the former mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, on Wednesday. He accused Mr. de Blasio of leaving New York City in a state of disarray and insisted that Mr. de Blasio’s former top aides had no right to publicly criticise the way that Mr. Adams is running the city. Mr. Adams’ tirade was unprompted and lasted for seven minutes.
According to Mr. Adams, a moderate Democrat who will soon be entering his second year in office, he recently complained to Mr. de Blasio via phone call about the assaults.
After that, Mr. Adams gave back what had been given to him. He attacked Mr. de Blasio’s record as mayor and argued that criticism from former city officials was extremely unusual and unhelpful, especially when they had “left the house in total disarray.” He was referring to criticism about Mr. Adams’s handling of the pandemic, city schools, and violence at Rikers. He lit into Mr. de Blasio’s record as mayor.
It was a stunning broadside from Mr. Adams against Mr. de Blasio and his allies, and it was one of the most fiery scuffles between Democrats in New York since Mr. de Blasio accused Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of acting vindictively toward the city in 2015. Mr. Adams is a member of the New York State Senate. Mr. de Blasio, who is now serving as a visiting scholar at New York University, has seldom voiced any criticism of Mr. Adams; but, senior officials from his administration have voiced reservations with a number of Mr. Adams’s initiatives.
Mr. Adams singled out one specific former staffer by name: Bill Neidhardt, who served as a press secretary for Mr. de Blasio during his second term and has been an outspoken opponent of Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams referred to Mr. Neidhardt as “the worst communications man in the history of communication” in one of his tweets.
On Wednesday, Mr. Neidhardt, who is now the owner and operator of a political communications agency, provided a response in which he said that it was appropriate to critique the mayor’s record.
During his first year in office, Mr. Adams has been the target of a significant amount of criticism, including charges that he engaged in favouritism in the hiring process and budget cutbacks at schools and libraries. When he announced on Tuesday that there was “no more space at the inn” for migrants coming in waves from the nation’s southern border, he was met with a fresh round of fury from people around the country.
In spite of the fact that Mr. Adams and Mayor de Blasio are political friends and both came to prominence in the same Brooklyn power circles, Mr. Adams made a harsh statement about the management of the city. During the contentious Democratic race for mayor in 2021, Mr. de Blasio discreetly endorsed Mr. Adams and worked behind the scenes to help elect him.
Still, considerable discrepancies have developed. Mr. Adams made the decision not to expand Mr. de Blasio’s popular preschool programme for 3-year-olds; he has raised doubts about closing the jail complex at Rikers Island on the timeline that Mr. de Blasio has proposed; and he brought back a contentious anti-gun police unit that was disbanded under Mr. de Blasio.
In a statement that he released on Wednesday night, Mr. de Blasio said that earlier in the day he had a conversation with Mr. Adams during which he said that he knew how difficult it was to run the city and that he wished for Mr. Adams’s success.
Mr. de Blasio is quoted as saying, “I identify with his aggravation with some detractors; nonetheless, I want to underline this: No one speaks for me other than myself.”
Mr. Adams, in his capacity as Mayor of the Municipal, has levelled several criticisms against the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, accusing it of leaving him with serious issues throughout the city government, such as fewer garbage collections and greater crime rates. After conducting an investigation into the operations of the city throughout the previous summer, Mr. Adams said to The New York Post that he was “shocked” to find “how awful this place is.”