New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) on Thursday slammed 2020 rival Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) for her staff not allowing him to attend a press conference celebrating the passage of legislation to fund the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
De Blasio was hoping to attend the presser alongside comedian Jon Stewart and multiple 9/11 first responders while he was in Washington, D.C., Tuesday for campaign events. But Gillibrand's staff told de Blasio he was not welcome to attend, according to Politico.
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In response to the snub, de Blasio told reporters at an unrelated press conference in Brooklyn that it "makes no sense" to him why he would not be allowed to attend. Like Gillibrand, de Blasio is polling around 1 percent in the 2020 primary.
"I can’t imagine why anyone would do such a thing on a moment that should be a unifying moment," de Blasio said. "I find it unbelievable."
"It makes no sense to me. My team made very clear that I wanted to go there to honor our first responders and to show appreciation for the members of the Congress for getting this done," de Blasio continued. "I don’t know how that request gets turned down."
Even after de Blasio offered not to speak, he said he was turned away by Gillibrand's staff.
"I’ve been around a lot of politicians — when a politician says, ‘I’m not going to speak,' that’s a special moment," de Blasio said, referring to himself.
While de Blasio was eager to attend the press conference after the Senate voted to extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2092, he was absent at a 9/11 memorial ceremony back in May. Not only was de Blasio absent, but he went on to blame his staff when he received scrutiny for not attending the event, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
"The Mayor’s team believed they could not make the event work with his schedule and declined without conferring with him," de Blasio spokeswoman, Freddi Goldstein, said in a statement. "Had [he] known about the invitation, he would have attended."
Michelle Holfester lost her husband, Det. William Holfester, in 2008 from cancer related to clean up efforts at Ground Zero. She did not buy excuses about the absence of de Blasio and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.).
"They should have been here, that’s the bottom line," she said. "We’re here where are they? They’ve seen through the years what’s been going on the suffering with the men and women that lost their lives post 9/11 … It’s not a good picture. It doesn’t look good."