DeBlasio ducks questions about traffic violations at presser
The mayor of New York City, who once said while campaigning, "I will attempt the most transparency possible in every public endeavor," ducked out of a press conference he called to respond to a video of his NYPD SUV disobeying traffic laws.
The mayor read a brief statement declaring his "great respect" for the "training and protocols" of his NYPD security detail and professing that he was "committed, obviously, to traffic safety."
He said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton "addressed the topic of my security detail earlier today. I'm very comfortable with what Commissioner Bratton said and I refer you to his comments."
With that, de Blasio left the podium, ignoring reporters shouting questions at him as he walked out of the City Hall Blue Room.
And so what began as a simple story about the mayor's motorcade violating the rules of the road turned into a self-inflicted crisis about openness at City Hall.
This was, after all, a mayor who once declared, "I will attempt the most transparency possible in every public endeavor."
And Friday morning, outside his home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, de Blasio told reporters, "We'll have a press conference later today. You can ask all the questions you want."
Even de Blasio's former spokeswoman Lis Smith chided him Friday.
"Take the questions and all of them now. Put the issue to bed. Not rocket science," she tweeted minutes after his press conference.
It is the second controversy involving de Blasio and the NYPD in two weeks. He was criticized for calling an NYPD deputy chief after a political supporter, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, was arrested on Feb. 10. The new controversy began Thursday when a WCBS/Channel 2 news crew captured the mayor's NYPD-driven SUV - with de Blasio riding shotgun - blowing past stop signs and driving faster than the speed limit just two days after he announced a sweeping crackdown on dangerous driving.
Friday morning, de Blasio refused to take questions from reporters outside his home, and a short time later he jaywalked through an intersection, oblivious to a red "DON'T WALK" signal as he chatted on his cell phone, surrounded by his security detail.
His NYPD drivers then thwarted the Daily News from tailing his motorcade. His black SUV headed off when a traffic light turned green - but a second NYPD vehicle did not move, blocking The News' car. When the second NYPD vehicle finally moved, the mayor's SUV was out of sight.
Traffic laws are for little people!
Indeed, there might be some excuse for the reckless driving if the mayor's life was threatened. Police Commissioner Bratton hinted at that during his remarks.
But no such threat was present when the police-driven SUV bareled through stop signs and sped along at 15 MPH above the speed limit.
DeBlasio, like Obama, can talk a good game when it comes to transparency. But where the rubber meets the road and they are forced to come clean, they choose the "limited hang-out route," to borrow a phrase of Watergate fame. Leftists have an heroic image of themselves, of being better than other grubby politicians. But in the end, they play the game the same way as everyone else, and rather than seeing hypocrisy, they justify it on the basis of having good intentions.