NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio is used to sparring with other political figures.
But it was a potential face-off with a feisty 63-year-old mother from Queens that caused the mayor to flee.
The woman single-handedly brought Wrestlemania to the streets of Whitestone. But her opponent was neither The Hulk nor The Rock, he was more like the Cowardly Lion from the “Wizard of Oz,” Kramer reported.
“I want to know why you let your police officers down and our country down by going to Germany and protesting against our country,” she demanded.
The mayor was in Whitestone to announce new funding to fix city sidewalks damaged by tree roots.
Vickie Paladino was driving by an ordered her husband to stop the car. She pounced as the mayor was leaving. He started to walk toward her, but when he heard what she was saying, he simply fled, taking refuge in his SUV as Paladino kept it up.
“I don’t care about the trees,” she shouted. “Pay your police officers and stop spending it on money to go protest against our country.”
She spoke with Kramer on Friday and continued to ask questions.
“Why did you go to Germany? Why did you stand with the communists, the anarchists, the socialists when you’re supposed to be here,” she said. “Taking care of our business, our police officers.”
She was referring to de Blasio’s controversial trip to speak at a protest rally in Germany only hours after NYPD Det. Miosotis Familia was killed.
She was also furious about his high-handed treatment of her, Kramer reported. She said the mayor turned to his security detail and said, “very quietly — you need to get this woman away from me, or get me away from this woman.”
Political consultants say that for a man seeking reelection, that was a big mistake.
“It’s the wrong strategy. It’s a bad attitude, frankly. When you’re the mayor, you serve the people. When you run into the public and they may not agree with you, you still have to deal with them,” political consultant O’Brien Murray said. “How you handle that is really indicative of how you treat all voters.”
It seems Paladino’s visit with de Blasio has given her a taste for politics. When asked whether she would ever think of running for mayor, she replied “absolutely.”
The mayor’s office did not respond to CBS2’s requests for comment.
While the mayor may not want to speak with Paladino, his political opponents do. She’s received calls from both Nichole Malliotakis and Bo Dietl. She plans to meet with Malliotakis on Saturday.