Facing widespread criticism for his impromptu trip to Germany to speak at a leftist protest related to the G20 summit of world leaders, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday defended his actions, claiming that all of the “issues” in the city are being dealt with in his absence.
After being asked about the criticism, de Blasio said during his weekly radio appearance on WYNC, “All the issues that need to be attended to, I am attending to every day regardless of where I am.”
De Blasio jetted off to Hamburg Thursday, choosing not to attend a swearing-in ceremony for New York Police Department officers which was made somber by the assassination of NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia Wednesday.
In defense of the last-minute announcement of his trip, de Blasio said he did not want to make it until he learned the date of Familia’s funeral.
“We were going to announce it earlier in the week and then, of course, we had the horrible shooting of Officer Familia and it was important to focus on that and deal with that painful reality,” he said. “Obviously I did not want to do anything until I knew when her services would be.”
De Blasio said that the government of Hamburg invited him to the G-20 protest.
“[It] is run by a social democratic party and the Green Party and they invited me as a colleague,” he said. “They wanted to represent the fact that there are variety of issues that affect this planet. In particular climate change.”
“This invitation … was not something that was expected. It’s not something I talk to anyone about. It came in and I was honored. I thought it was an important moment to stand up and speak out for these [progressive] values.”
De Blasio described the scene in Hamburg, which has already seen violent protests associated with the G20 summit.
“It’s a very dynamic situation. There’s a lot of protesters, the vast majority of who are peaceful.”
“There are a small group of violent protesters and it has been a big challenge. The local authorities deal with that … I am very moved by Hamburg’s choice (to host the event), but obviously it’s a very tense situation here.”
De Blazio’s trip is reportedly being paid for by the organizers of the “Hamburg Zeigt Haltung,” or “Hamburg Shows Attitude” rally at which he is scheduled to speak. They are also financing the trip for three City Hall staffers.
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