Mayor de Blasio wants Eric Adams to follow in his footsteps.
If he takes over the reins at City Hall as expected next year, Adams should be willing to take an adversarial stance against Gov. Cuomo, de Blasio said Thursday in his first extensive public remarks on the Brooklyn borough president’s victory in the Democratic mayoral race.
De Blasio, who has a long history of butting heads with the governor, offered the candid advice after being asked during a briefing at City Hall how his likely successor should approach dealing with Cuomo on a professional basis.
“Koch used to say you know when a governor does something good for New York City thank them, praise them and when they don’t, you know, challenge them, take them on,” de Blasio said, referring to late Mayor Ed Koch. “And I think that’s the right way to proceed.”
Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi took offense to de Blasio’s musings about Adams.
“We understand that the mayor is trying to seek relevance during his lame-duck period, but — like the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers — we look forward to working with a competent administration that is focused on governing,” Azzopardi said.
De Blasio and Cuomo have clashed for years on policy issues, like whether to hike taxes on the city’s wealthy and how to safely reopen businesses during the pandemic. They’ve also feuded along deeply personal lines, with de Blasio openly accusing Cuomo of being a “bully.”
For his part, Adams went out of his way Thursday to clarify that he was not criticizing Cuomo when he a day earlier said “what took so long?” in response to the governor declaring a disaster emergency on gun violence in New York.
“Not a criticism of Gov. Cuomo,” Adams, who has known both de Blasio and Cuomo for years, said on MSNBC. “It’s a criticism of our country.”
De Blasio has refused to divulge how he voted in the June 22 mayoral primary.
But during Thursday’s briefing, de Blasio showered Adams in praise and said he was “very impressed” by the Brooklyn BP’s campaign and policy platform.
“Eric did something I admire he said this is going to be a campaign about working people,” de Blasio said. “That was music to my ears. He focused on the working people of the city … I think that bodes well for how he’s going to govern.”
Though he kept his vote a secret, rumors swirled toward the tail-end of the mayoral race that de Blasio was secretly backing the BP’s campaign by courting support for him from union leaders and influential politicos in the city.
One of de Blasio’s proudest accomplishments as mayor has been implementing universal pre-K, and he expressed confidence that Adams will build on that if elected.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Eric Adams will focus on inclusion and equity in public education, no question,” de Blasio said.
Adams was declared the winner of the Democratic mayoral primary Tuesday after the Board of Elections released near-complete results showing he held a razor-thin but insurmountable lead over his two main rivals, Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley.
He will face Republican mayoral hopeful Curtis Sliwa in November’s general election. Adams is expected to easily prevail in that contest, considering New York City’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate.
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