Bill de Blasio, the New York City's mayor, and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has faced a wave a criticism over the weekend for not being present in the Big Apple during the massive blackout on Saturday.
Instead of heading home, de Blasio remained in Iowa campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.
A malfunction at an electrical substation set off a chain of disturbances in the grid Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo explained. The blackout left 72,000 residents without power for nearly five hours. As de Blasio was out of the city, Gov. Cuomo, a potential candidate for a mayor took the lead, tweeting live updates on the unusual situation. The lights went on by Sunday morning.
As soon as the power was restored, Gov. Cuomo commented that such an outage was a major political event in a city like New York and needed its leader on the spot. Cuomo, a long-term rival of de Blasio, went further saying that instead of dealing with the crisis back home, de Blasio had a different kind of emergency on his table.
The majority of the local media echoed Cuomo's words. For instance, a New York Post editorial asserted that Bill de Blasio was self centric and did not care about New York and its people. The Post even urged Cuomo ''to remove'' de Blasio from office.
The Daily News pointed out that the mayor, as a national figure, goes out of town now and then. However, in their view, de Blasio has been taking every chance to get out of New York without taking proper care of his duties as a mayor.
In an interview with CNN, Bill de Blasio defended his Iowa visit. He said that as a public servant, he needs to be out of town for diverse reasons. What was important to him was to manage the crisis from a distance, to have his hands on the wheel, making sure that the issue will be resolved smoothly.
De Blasio praised his team back home and initially showed no plans to return. Later on, he changed his mind and arrived in New York when the power had been restored.
The New York blackout caught its mayor in difficult times when he was struggling to improve his standings in the highly competitive Democratic presidential race.
Since he joined the competition in May, de Blasio had polled poorly among primary voters. According to the most recent Morning Consult's report, de Blasio had 1% support. He was not popular among his fellow New Yorkers an April Quinnipiac poll found out. As per their data, 76% of the New Yorkers said de Blasio should give up the presidential race.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement that as a mayor, de Blasio should had returned immediately back to New York in times of a crisis?