Jumaane Williams joins chorus of critics after de Blasio announces 2020 run
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams ripped Mayor de Blasio’s job performance Thursday — and declared that he was “ready, willing and able” to take over should Hizzoner skip town for his quixotic presidential run.
“I ran to be Public Advocate, I didn’t run to be Mayor. I made that quite clear,” he told FOX 5’s “Good Day New York” before adding: “I am ready, willing, and able to step in and do my duties.”
Under the city charter, the public advocate would step in as acting mayor if the sitting mayor is out of town for more than nine days.
Asked about Hizzoner’s time in office, Williams largely gave him a thumbs down.
“I have to say I think it was, at this point, a net negative, is what I feel. I feel like the issues he came in on — housing, policing — for policing we’ve actually gotten a little better, but things like accountability, true accountability, and transparency has not happened yet,” he said.
“[The] housing crisis has not only gotten worse, but the plan that was put forth has not worked and I see no plans to adjust it.”
Williams, a former city councilman from Brooklyn, said De Blasio’s starry-eyed visions of grandeur on the national stage have taken his focus off of the Big Apple.
“I do feel for quite some time, both eyes haven’t been on being the mayor of the city New York, and that’s been a problem for me,” he said.
“The issues that we were talking about when he came in office, the plan to fix those has not gone the way many of us thought. And, he was supposed to be the blue wave before it even came in, that blue wave kind of tickled, unfortunately.”
He also repeated his criticism of de Blasio’s plan to scrap the single-test admissions system for elite high schools, which he said last week sent the message to minority parents that “your kids are too dumb to pass.”
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and de Blasio want to abolish the single-test system and replace it with multiple measures of assessment, including student grades, arguing that the current process works against minority and poor populations.
“Even what we look at school diversity and what’s happening with the specialized high school, even the unrolling of that has been terrible. It’s caused more tension between communities unnecessarily. And I think it didn’t quite rise to the leadership moment that we should’ve seen when discussing those [issues],” he said.
And he said the mayor should get his own house in order before planning a long-shot run for the presidency.
“Look, if you’re going to run for president, you’ve got to fix these things here first, or there’s going to be a lot of noise explaining why you shouldn’t be,” Williams said.
“What I’ve seen, even without him running for President, there are a lot of gaps and that’s what I’m concerned about. There’s a tremendous housing crisis that has only worsened since he’s become mayor.”
Asked about the mayor’s contention that he would run the country the same way he ran the city, Williams offered some praise before panning the strategy.
“He’s absolutely qualified. There are definitely things he can say he did and we should not push those aside, because those are very good things. But, if the fundamental question is, if you’re going to push out ‘I’m going to do for the nation what I did for New York City’ as of right now, to me that’s a tough sell because I don’t want to see that happen,” he said.
Still, he added, de Blasio might have a chance considering that Donald Trump was elected president.
“He became mayor when he wasn’t supposed to, and Donald Trump is president, so anything can happen,” he said.
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