NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to answer questions about an arrest in a racially-motived Midtown homicide and other topics Thursday, instead stalking away from a news conference.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, de Blasio wants his name to be synonymous with Vision Zero. But Kramer said some might say he showed zero vision by not calming New Yorkers’ fears about a number of new hate crimes that are top of mind for the 8 million-plus people living in the city.
“I’m here to talk about this. If you want to ask question about this, I’m here to talk about this,” de Blasio said. “If you want to talk about this, great. If not we’ll take questions another way, another time.
The mayor was only taking on-topic questions about his selected top of the day – his quest to get Albany to approve his last call for a tax hike on the wealthy. But reporters asked de Blasio about his reaction about stunning hate crime allegations – in which suspect James Harris Jackson, 28, is accused of stabbing Timothy Caughman, 66, to death in Midtown and admitting that he wanted to kill black people.
De Blasio declined to talk about the subject, saying, “Does anyone want to talk about the mansion tax?”
Reporters went on to ask other questions. One asked about a ruling that went against de Blasio for refusing to make public email exchanges with a political advisor he called “an agent of the city.”
“Guys, you can ask all you want. Here’s what we’re here to talk about,” de Blasio said. “You don’t want to be a part of it? You don’t have to come,” de Blasio said. “Everything else you want to talk about, you’ll get answers to through our press office.”
De Blasio has rules – since the corruption scandal, he only answers “off-topic” questions once a week. Thursday was not that day.
Thus, de Blasio also refused to talk about the arrest of an Israeli teen suspected of making bomb threats to Jewish community centers.
“That is great guys. I’m done, thank you,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio is the mayor of a city with the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, but he walked away when the question was asked, Kramer noted.
This was not the first time that de Blasio has refused to answer questions. Back in November 2015, after being advised by then-Press Secretary Karen Hinton that the mayor would not be taking questions, Kramer went all the way to Puerto Rico to talk to the mayor after being advised his next availability would be there.
Some time after he left the news conference, the Mayor’s office issued a statement on his behalf about the racially-motivated Midtown stabbing, saying the city “will always stand ready to face down intolerance.”