Mayor Adams harangued some of Bill de Blasio’s administration officials Wednesday for having the gall to publicly criticize his leadership even though he said they left him with the city in a state of “total disarray.”
Adams unleashed the extraordinary broadside against his predecessor’s team at the tail end of an unrelated press conference in Brooklyn — unprompted by any questions from reporters.
“Once they’re gone, they’re experts on everything. When you look through the last 12 months, and you see how many times they have interfered, this is not acceptable,” Adams said of de Blasio’s staff without identifying anyone by name. “You tell me when there has been a time that a previous administration has attacked another administration in the first year.”
Adams said members of other previous administrations besides de Blasio’s “have been nothing but helpful.”
“Those from the Koch administration call us: ‘How can we help?’ Bloomberg administration calls us: ‘How can we help?’ Dinkins administration calls: ‘How can we help?’ Giuliani’s administration calls us: ‘How can we help?’ Every other administration calls us: ‘How can we help?’” Adams said.
“But we have the previous administration that just left the house — they just left, they left the house in total disarray — and then they come and say, ‘Look at the mess that you created, Eric.’
“No, it’s the mess we inherited.”
De Blasio, who endorsed Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign and has been friendly with him for decades, did not return a request for comment from the Daily News — but took to Twitter to voice support for his former staff on Wednesday afternoon.
“For all the members of my team who served this city with tremendous devotion, especially during the pandemic, I want to thank you. You made this city better,” de Blasio tweeted.
The ex-mayor also said he spoke with Adams over the phone after his press conference.
“I certainly understand how difficult it is to govern this city, which is why I have offered him help in many forms over the last year and a half. We all need him to succeed and should help in any way we can,” he wrote. “I sympathize with his frustration with certain critics but want to emphasize this: No one speaks for me but me.”
The only ex-de Blasio adviser Adams referenced directly in his rant — though not by name — was Bill Neidhardt, the former mayor’s second-to-last City Hall press secretary.
Neidhardt, who frequently criticizes Adams on social media over his housing, homeless, education and COVID-19 policies, among other issues, is “probably the worst comms guy in the history of communications,” Adams said.
“No matter what we do, all of a sudden, y’all say, ‘OK, let me find someone to critique Eric Adams’ ... And you guys act like this guy is credible. Who cares what he thinks?” Adams told reporters. “They had eight years to do their job. Eight years to fix Rikers, eight years to deal with crime, eight years to deal with education, eight years to deal with early childhood education for children with disabilities, eight years to fix NYCHA. They had all the time to do their job.”
Asked if the de Blasio team did a good job, Adams exclaimed with a chuckle: “No! No!”
In a phone interview later Wednesday, Neidhardt said it’s time for Adams to “grow up” and start focusing on the job at hand instead of criticism from his constituents.
“There’s clearly something wrong with the mayor where he seems to have an inability to focus on the work that needs to get done for the people of New York City instead of coming at me or some other random constituent,” he said. “Every New Yorker has the right to disagree with the mayor. And if he’s cutting school budgets and raising the rent on rent-stabilized apartments, he should expect to be called out.
“I don’t know if he understands that this is a democracy,” Neidhardt added.
Besides Neidhardt, Adams has fielded some criticism recently from Liz Glazer, de Blasio’s former criminal justice director, who told The News last month that Adams’ public safety agenda is characterized by “this pattern of announcing things without the operations really behind them.”
De Blasio’s staffers aren’t the only fellow Democrats who have drawn Adams’ ire lately.
The mayor has also in recent weeks ramped up his criticism of President Biden’s administration over a perceived lack of federal assistance for the city’s migrant crisis.
“What’s callous is how we have been ignored as a city,” Adams said Wednesday. “It’s time for the federal government to step up.”