This Sunday we will finally see New York City Puerto Rican Day parade kick off. Unfortunately, by this point the entire thing has ceased to be an effort to honor the history and contributions of Puerto Ricans, instead turning into a debate over the presence of convicted FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera. One of the central figures in this sad drama has been New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. While many more sensible politicians were putting as much distance between themselves and Rivera as possible, de Blasio was insisting that he would take part. Then his story began to change on a nearly daily basis. And yesterday he delivered the final icing on the cake, claiming that his position all along has been precisely the opposite of what he’s been telling us. (NY Daily News, emphasis added)
After weeks of promising to march in the Puerto Rican Day Parade even if it honored Oscar Lopez Rivera, Mayor de Blasio insisted Monday that he was simply being “diplomatic” in public.
Lopez Rivera declined the honor of “National Freedom Hero” last week — and now de Blasio says he’d told the parade committee that if the FALN leader remained an honoree, he wouldn’t have been part of the parade.
“I made clear to them that I was uncomfortable with the situation, and I wanted them to resolve it, and really believed they could resolve it,” de Blasio said at a press conference in Queens. “But if it wasn’t resolved, I wasn’t going to (be) comfortable being a part of it.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa…. hold your horses here, big guy. Isn’t that sort of the exact opposite of what you’ve been saying for weeks? Let’s remember how you’ve handled this up until now.
On May 24th you said that while FALN “did things I don’t agree with” you could still, “understand why so many Puerto Ricans in this city respect that he fought for Puerto Rico.” And you said that as part of your announcement that you would be marching in the parade with Rivera, not that you might. Would.
By May 27th you were saying, “The parade committee made a choice this year on someone to honor, [and] that does not change the basic nature of the parade.” Unlike yesterday’s statement, you were making it clear that Rivera had nothing to do with the parade. Zero, zilch, nada. You were (again… not might be) marching in the parade and you were comfortable ignoring the fact that Rivera was there.
By last week the pressure had clearly gotten to you and you were trying to put some daylight between yourself and the FALN founder. Yet even then, all you could manage to say was this:
“Unfortunately, the parade and the plight of Puerto Rico have been overshadowed by needless controversy. Oscar Lopez Rivera agreeing to step aside from any formal role in the parade is a critical step forward in refocusing our city’s attention on the more important issues facing Puerto Rico.”
Do you remember saying “needless controversy” Mr. Mayor? If you were still planning to ditch the parade if Rivera was honored in it, that wasn’t “needless” at all, was it?
So how does de Blasio explain this seeming disconnect? You’re going to love this one.
“Sometimes to get something done you hold your tongue in public,” he said.
“I have made my views known to the parade committee. You guys had asked me different questions, I had been, diplomatic let’s say, in the answering of those questions because I believed the parade committee was seriously trying to grapple with the issue and I wanted to give them some space to do it,” de Blasio said today.
If this were a soccer game we’d be handing the Mayor a stack of red cards about now. First off, that sounds suspiciously like Hillary Clinton’s infamous speech on Wall Street where she talked about having a public position and a private position. That’s just another way of saying, “don’t worry about the lies I tell to the rubes so they’ll vote for me. Here’s the real deal…”
But that’s not really what de Blasio was doing either. He made it very clear up front that he “understood” why some people admire the terrorist and he was fine marching with him anyway. Now the entire story has blown up in his face and he’s trying to pretend that he was outraged all along. If there was even a chance that he was going to stay out of the parade in protest of Rivera’s place of honor he could have had the guts to simply decline to attend without giving a reason. That’s precisely what Governor Cuomo did and it seems to have worked out in his favor. What the Mayor of New York City is essentially saying this week is that he lied through his teeth when he said he planned on marching no matter what happened. That’s not “holding your tongue” or giving the parade organizers “space” to work it out. That’s an admission that you went in front of the reporters on multiple occasions and lied to the public.
In the end, that’s what this all comes down to. It was a prime example of just being yet another lying politician. Wear the badge proudly, sir. You’ve clearly earned it.