NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Columbus statue controversy remains a sticking point in the New York City mayoral race.

With the primaries over, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Nicole Malliotakis are taking the gloves off.

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De Blasio had smiles for campaign workers, and brickbats for Republican opponent Nicole Malliotakis, on the day after primaries.

“Assembly member Malliotakis is a pro-Trump Republican,” de Blasio said.

CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer explained, that will be one of the key lines of attack that de Blasio will use against Malliotakis — even though she was the New York chair of Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign.

“This is a mayor who ran on a platform to lift people out of poverty and to end the tale of two cities. The tale of two cities with it being the mayor’s donors, and friends versus the rest of us,” she said.

The he said she said will be the order of the day until the November election, Malliotakis started by slamming the mayor for his refusal to support keeping the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.

He’s waiting for his commission on statues of hate to weigh in.

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“I’m not going to be handicapping the situation. I’m not going to be speaking about each monument,” he said.

The demand that he support Columbus was crystallized with the desecration of the Columbus statue on Central Park Tuesday — it was covered in graffiti, its hands painted blood red.

Despite the vandalism — three in the area have been defaced — the mayor also won’t take a position on providing extra police protection.

“I have total respect that commissioner O’Neill will know what to do,” he said.

Malliotakis was happy to roll out specifics.

“You’re going to temporarily put more surveillance in the area, and have police walk it,” she said.

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The big question for Bill de Blasio is whether he takes a position on Christopher before the Columbus Day Parade.