Is de Blasio jealous of Bloomberg’s presidential bid?

Bloomberg and de Blasio in November, 2015.
Bloomberg and de Blasio in November, 2015.
A. KATZ/Shutterstock
Bloomberg and de Blasio in November, 2015.

Is de Blasio jealous of Bloomberg’s presidential bid?

His constant chiding of the former mayor sure makes Hizzoner look like a green-eyed monster.
December 4, 2019

Hizzoner isn’t taking former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bid for president all that well. Since even before Bloomberg launched his candidacy on Nov. 24, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hasn’t done much to conceal his displeasure with his predecessor’s presidential ambitions, pointing out why he’s unfit for the Democratic nomination at every available opportunity. It has us wondering if de Blasio is just plain jealous of his predecessor? 

“This is a Democratic Party today that’s getting more progressive, that wants to address the concerns of working people, that does not accept the status quo,” de Blasio told The New York Times, on Nov. 11. “There’s no way in the world we should nominate a billionaire who epitomizes the status quo.”

Following Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk apology on Nov. 18, de Blasio – who campaigned to end the practice – slammed the former mayor’s mea culpa saying that “it was too big a mistake and too haughty a mistake to simply be brushed aside.” 

On Nov. 25, after Bloomberg’s campaign officially launched, de Blasio said he has spent six years “undoing what Michael Bloomberg did” in an interview with "The Young Turks.” 

"This is a guy who really reinforced the status quo every chance he got in New York City, and I have spent literally six years undoing what Michael Bloomberg did, and stop and frisk is one of the most obvious examples, but there’s a lot of others” said de Blasio.

On Nov. 27, de Blasio reached out to New York magazine to discuss a litany of his complaints against Bloomberg and his mayoral record, discussing his questionable Democratic values, criminal justice stances and the issues mentioned in his campaign ad.

De Blasio isn’t the only one raising these concerns. Bloomberg’s enormous wealth, past criminal justice policies, previous Republican Party membership and recent donations to GOP candidates, among other things, have all been called into question as he vies for the Democratic nomination. But that doesn’t mean Hizzoner’s nearly obsessive Bloomberg-bashing is fooling anyone. De Blasio tried and failed to capture the nation’s heart with his own failed presidential run that ended just months ago. Despite launching his campaign late in the game, Bloomberg has already sped ahead of several Democratic candidates in the polls – which has been tied to U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ decision to drop out of the race on Tuesday – and pockets deep enough to bankroll his campaign without donations. It’s understandable why the mayor might be feeling a little salty. 

And City & State isn’t alone in recognizing that there’s more to de Blasio’s stance on Bloomberg’s bid is about more than different political perspectives. “That is a psychological question and not a political question,” New York City Councilman Brad Lander said last week, when asked what he thinks about the mayor’s attitude toward Bloomberg’s run. 

Politico has also suggested that de Blasio’s heavy-handed criticism of Bloomberg and his legacy does him a disservice. “De Blasio is not mistaken to think that he is well situated to serve as a voice of reason amid Bloomberg’s excessively rosy presentation of his own tenure as mayor,” writes Politico. “Like a Cassandra from City Hall, de Blasio is warning Democrats to resist Bloomberg’s enticements. But in his eagerness to do so, he is perhaps diminishing himself in the process.”

Instead of fuming over Bloomberg’s immediate successes and mourning his intangible dreams of becoming president, de Blasio would do well to turn his attention toward the city and try to spend his two remaining years in office preserving his own legacy — which is in serious jeopardy of being tarnished by ongoing problems with homelessness, failing infrastructure, inequality and segregation. 

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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