Adams and Yang Tussle Over ‘Hypocrisy’ Over de Blasio Endorsement

NEW YORK -
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Mayoral candidates Eric Adams (L) and Andrew Yang appearing at an ABC7 debate Wednesday.

Eric Adams hit rival mayoral candidate Andrew Yang over what Adams deemed Yang’s “hypocrisy” regarding the desirability of an endorsement from outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, but Adams himself appears to have taken an inconsistent position on the issue as well.

The latest tussle in a mayoral race that has suddenly turned testy began Tuesday, as Adams and Yang, two of the frontrunning candidates, exchanged barbs at separate campaign events.

“Why is he still in this race?” Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and former state senator, said when asked about Yang, an entrepreneur who has never held public office. “I think that’s he’s a joke, and it’s not funny anymore.”

Shortly afterward, Yang, at his own campaign event, criticized Adams over reports in Politico and The Atlantic that de Blasio, who has not made an endorsement in the race, had been quietly trying to build support for Adams. Yang blamed de Blasio for what Yang deemed irresponsible spending of federal stimulus money that will leave the next mayor with budgetary woes, then said, “You know who’s not going to breathe a word about it? Eric Adams. You know why? Because Eric Adams knows that Mayor de Blasio is making calls for him right now.”

But at a mayoral debate the next night, when participants were asked, “How many of you would like to have Mayor de Blasio’s endorsement?” Yang was the only one of eight candidates to raise his hand. Yang was also the only one to raise his hand when the candidates were asked, “How many of you would like to have Governor Cuomo’s endorsement?”

Yang was criticized by Adams and Kathryn Garcia, another leading candidate, who were asked by a Hamodia reporter following the debate about Yang’s saying he’d want de Blasio’s endorsement after mocking Adams for getting support from the mayor.

“He’s very flexible on that,” said Garcia. “He seems to want everyone’s endorsement regardless of whether or not he’s in line with their policies.”

“It’s called hypocrisy,” said Adams. “We see it over and over in this election, over and over again, depending upon what room he’s in, or where he’s located, he says different things. He goes from, ‘It’s bad for Eric to have support from certain individuals,’ and then as soon as I leave the room, I see him walking in the room asking for support. And so, that level of hypocrisy, I just don’t believe he understands New Yorkers … It was amazing to hear him say, ‘Eric, the mayor likes Eric, but let me now say I want the mayor’s endorsement.’ I mean, what do you say after that?”

Asked to explain Yang’s apparent contradiction, Yang co-campaign manager Chris Coffey said to Hamodia, “We’ll take anyone’s endorsement. But it’s time for a change, not a handpicked successor.”

Coffey also tweeted that Yang “disagrees with [de Blasio] left and right” and “thinks we need change,” but “isn’t in the habit of refusing hypothetical endorsements.”

Then, the morning after the debate in which he’d said he would like to have de Blasio’s endorsement, Yang held a press conference outside the Park Slope YMCA. This was widely seen as Yang’s attempt to symbolically troll de Blasio, who has been known (and mocked) for going there from Manhattan to work out every morning, prior to the start of the COVID pandemic. (The appearance did not go well — Yang had to leave the location after being heckled by progressive protestors, whose chants included, “No more cops!”)

De Blasio, speaking on WNYC Friday, told host Brian Lehrer, “It’s fair to say [Yang is] incoherent to put those two things together in less than 24 hours.”

But Adams, who criticized Yang’s “hypocrisy,” appears to have also taken a contradictory stance by not raising his hand at the debate when candidates were asked if they wanted de Blasio’s and Cuomo’s endorsements.

In a recent Mishpacha interview, in response to a question if he would “accept Gov. Cuomo’s endorsement or campaign with him if nominated,” Adams  hadreplied, “I want the support of every New Yorker, and that includes the governor.” And a Gotham Gazette report of a mayoral Zoom forum held last October (before Yang was in the race) said, “All [candidates] but Adams and [Maya] Wiley said they wouldn’t seek or accept the mayor’s endorsement.”

Asked at a campaign event Friday to explain the apparent contradiction, Adams said, “I don’t want to lose my election … by one vote. Whoever wants to vote for me, vote for me,” but that he is “troubled by the allegations” against Cuomo and that “I’m not actively going after [the governor] “saying ‘Cuomo would you endorse me?’ I don’t need that. I need the people of the city.”

“I want the people of this city to vote for me,” Adams said. “That is my focus. Not the governor, not the mayor.”

rborchardt@hamodia.com