New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in an interview published Saturday, blasted Democratic mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio for running a "racist" campaign after posing in a photo with his biracial family, Politico reported.
New York Magazine's Chris Smith suggested that Mr. de Blasio "has in some ways been running a class-warfare campaign."
"Class-warfare and racist," Mr. Bloomberg interrupted.
"Racist?" Mr. Smith asked.
"I mean he's making an appeal using his family to gain support," Mr. Bloomberg clarified. "I think it's pretty obvious to anyone watching what he's been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It's comparable to me pointing out I'm Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about."
The incumbent was referring to a photo of Mr. de Blasio posing with his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is a black poet and activist, and their two children, Dante and Chiara.
"[Mr. De Blasio's] whole campaign is that there are two different cities here," Mr. Bloomberg continued. "And I've never liked that kind of division. The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help. Tearing people apart with this 'two cities' thing doesn't make any sense to me. It's a destructive strategy for those you want to help the most. He's a very populist, very left-wing guy, but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it's one group paying for services for the other. It's a shame, because I've always thought he was a very smart guy."
Mr. de Blasio said he was surprised to learn of the mayor's comments.
"If that's exactly what he said, it's obviously inappropriate and I'm surprised to hear him say it," Mr. de Blasio said. "I'm very proud of my family. I'm very proud of each and every member of my family and the way that they have handled themselves in a very difficult campaign."
Mrs. de Blasio took to Twitter on Saturday: "@MikeBloomberg, enough of the patriarchal thinking. I am not property or a tool to be used or controlled. Stop the sexism!"
New Yorkers take to the polls Tuesday for the Democratic primary. If no candidate obtains 40 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held on Oct. 1. A Quinnipiac University poll published last week had Mr. de Blasio at 43 percent.
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