While I was down in Philly covering the DNC, one of the stranger moments of the week came when I wound up watching New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s surreal appearance on the stage. As I wrote at the time, the man brazenly took to the podium and began criticizing Republicans – specifically Donald Trump – for alleged nefarious deals involving real estate transactions on the very same day that the US Attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, announced yet another investigation into de Blasio’s own affairs… involving real estate tycoons. As it turns out, however, there was even more going on in the background which added up to a very bad week for Hizzoner indeed.
The Wall Street Journal broke a story detailing the accounts of some of his own staffers who have now started talking out of school about the Mayor’s short temper and strange, offensive and erratic behavior toward his own inner circle these days.
According to the interviews with current and former staff members, Mr. de Blasio can be condescending with his aides, often using the phrase “this is a teachable moment” before humiliating an aide in a staff meeting.
Mr. de Blasio, 55 years old, sometimes speaks slowly, like one would to a toddler, when he believes a staff member is unprepared or incorrect, these people said. He often tells staff members he has better political instincts than they do and he grows irritated when aides give lengthy briefings on an issue, they said.
Several current and former staff members said they were reluctant to buck him in meetings for fear of being embarrassed. “Anyone can incur his wrath,” a former city official said.
Returning to the real estate scandal, that makes a total of five… yes, FIVE ethics investigations that are ongoing regarding the Mayor’s administration. He attempted to laugh off the mounting accusations during a Politico interview, but then wound up abruptly cancelling a second interview with the New York Daily News before he could be asked any more questions.
This prompted Amelia Chassé of America Rising PAC to sum it up thusly:
“Mayor de Blasio is in freefall. It’s hardly surprising that fellow Democrats smell blood, given his rock-bottom approval rating, multiple ethics scandals, and the fact that barely a week goes by without his own staff trashing him in the press. Mayor de Blasio’s self-destructive behavior has left him with few defenders, and Team Clinton has made it clear that the cavalry isn’t coming for him.”
Those last comments relate to reports of late night meetings between New York political movers and shakers during convention week where they began openly discussing the possibility of running a primary opponent against the Mayor next year rather than face the prospect of taking on water from this mounting pile of scandals. Supposedly they’ve even begun floating names of people who might fill the bill. And keep in mind… we’re talking about the Democrats here. At this point, de Blasio is facing a circular firing squad composed of his own party members rather than Republican critics hurling stones at him. And despite the fact that he somehow landed a late afternoon speaking slot at the convention in front of a sparsely populated hall, the word is that Hillary Clinton won’t be taking his calls any time soon.
That’s the price you pay in politics, folks. As long as you can deliver and keep the press off the party’s back, everyone loves you. But once you slip up and bring additional shame on the family, under the bus you go.