The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill finally passed this week, following plenty of drama and grandstanding from both sides of the aisle. And with Congress actually managing to get something done for a change, you know what that means. We needed a big press conference to celebrate so those involved could pat each other on the back. The bill’s two primary sponsors, New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, got together with comedian Jon Stewart to share the good news.
But do you know who wasn’t there? The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, though. He asked Gillibrand twice if he could take part in the press conference and both times she shot him down. (NY Post)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office smacked down Mayor Bill de Blasio when hizzoner asked if he could attend Tuesday’s press conference to celebrate the passage of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill, The Post has learned.
Gillibrand is the chief author of the bill and she and de Blasio are duking it out as bottom tier candidates in the Democratic primary for president — both polling at or below one percent.
De Blasio held three campaign events in D.C. Tuesday.
De Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein confirmed that the mayor’s office had asked Gillibrand’s staff to attend the event — but was told no.
That’s some pretty cold treatment there. But Gillibrand is trying to drag herself up above one percent in the 2020 primary polling (as is the Mayor) and there’s no point in sharing the spotlight with one of her competitors, right? According to his spokesperson, de Blasio even offered not to speak. He just wanted to stand there for the photo op. And Gillibrand shot him down anyway.
For his part, de Blasio handled the situation with grace. His spokesperson released a statement saying they understood that the event was just for the bill’s sponsors and advocates for the first responders. And while they would have been honored to attend, the Mayor understood the event was “about something much bigger than us.” It was a classy response.
While I don’t often expend a lot of energy feeling sorry for de Blasio, this is one case where you almost have to have a little sympathy for him. While there’s some rationale for limiting the number of people at the press conference, you would think elected officials representing the affected areas in New York City and Pennsylvania would be welcome. They’ve been on the firing line for years now over issues surrounding the care of the first responders involved in the response to the terror attacks.
In the end, however, I rather doubt that this passing moment is going to lift Gillibrand very far above her current level of support (which remains around zero) in the primary. And it’s doubtful that de Blasio would have gotten much of a boost out of it either. This was just a bit of sniping between two bottom-tier candidates and they should both probably focus on the next debate.