When it comes to the pay-to-play allegations that have dogged Mayor de Blasio for much of his first term, the mayor’s approach is simple:
Become Donald Trump.
Like Trump, de Blasio never admits culpability and, when confronted with contrary facts, immediately blames the questioner (the press).
On Wednesday evening, the mayor was again presented with this agita-inducing issue not once but twice — at both the beginning and end of the final debate before Tuesday’s primary.
As is well documented, de Blasio was investigated by federal and state prosecutors, both of whom found that he had, indeed, solicited millions of dollars from entities seeking favors from City Hall.
Neither found this was enough to indict the mayor, but both clearly found fault.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim pointed out that de Blasio had intervened on behalf of some of those donors, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declared the mayor’s tactics were “contrary to the intent and spirit” of campaign finance laws meant to “prevent corruption.”
At Wednesday’s debate, none of that mattered.
Asked if he would support a candidate tarred with these admonitions, de Blasio ignored the question, claiming that the multiple investigations “led to the clarification that we did things the right way.“
As the debate neared its end, the mayor again offered viewers an alternate version of reality.
Democratic rival, ex-Councilman Sal Albanese, brought up almost gleefully the mayor’s stated promise to present a “stunning list” of donors who asked for but got nothing from City Hall.
Albanese pointed out that no such list was delivered, that the mayor instead put out an “op-ed” in which he claimed he’d done nothing for two donors whose names he did not reveal.
“Why did you lie to me that (you) would produce this list?” Albanse asked.
De Blasio responded: “I have some very prominent examples. I did provide those examples.”
Albanese interjected, “You did not.”
De Blasio then resorted to the answer he always provides to any question he has no interest in answering:
“That’s your interpretation.”