Bill de Blasio: 2020 hopeful shrugs off people roasting his campaign as totally ‘normal’

Chris Riotta

Bill de Blasio shot down harsh criticism of his decision to run for president in 2020, saying in a new interview he’s unbothered by the jokes unleashed from late-night hosts shortly after his announcement.

The latest Democratic presidential hopeful said Tuesday that being the butt of jokes as the 24th candidate to launch a bid for the White House was like a “walk in the park” compared to his tenure as mayor of New York City.

“I think this is something to understand about me and my candidacy — mayor of the largest, toughest city in America. I have been for six years,” Mr de Blasio said on Tuesday.

“To me, that’s like a walk in the park,” he continued. “I didn’t even notice that because I deal with really tough issues every single day … Late-night comics don’t bother me.”

His comments arrived after popular late-night hosts derided the mayor for announcing a presidential run last week, with Jimmy Fallon saying his campaign was “the beginning of a brand-new comedy” and Stephen Colbert joking: “Yet another new Democratic candidate pushed his way into the clown car. I’m talking about New York City Mayor and Frankenstein’s monster’s lawyer Bill de Blasio.”

As the mayor of a city that also has one of the largest press hubs in the country, Mr de Blasio also pushed back on Tuesday from conservative outlets admonishing his candidacy.

“Fox News and New York Post, you’re going to get a definite reaction because I have challenged them plenty of times,” he said.

The mayor took the jokes in good humour, however, chuckling during his interview on CNN when the network played a series of late-night hosts roasting his candidacy.

“That’s what they do for a living, it’s normal,” he added.

Mr de Blasio faces an uphill battle: the mayor must prove he can carry his own state against frontrunners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, while maintaining support from a growing progressive base that has embraced diverse candidates like Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, among others.

The mayor has launched a campaign focusing on America’s working class, promising to build the country on a foundation of progressive principles as he has sought to accomplish across his hometown. He currently holds a 14 per cent favourable rating among Democrats and 35 per cent unfavourable rating in the latest polling.