New York Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Hillary Clinton’s performance at a Democratic primary debate in March 2016, complaining in an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta about the candidate’s tendency to “make it all about her.”
In an email titled “‘I’ police,” which was published by WikiLeaks on Monday, de Blasio wrote that Clinton “totally blew” a question about mass incarceration. “Why on Earth did she say ‘Are you going to ask Senator Sanders that question?’ instead of just addressing the issue,” the New York mayor wrote to Podesta. “When she makes it about her, she loses the high ground. Stating the obvious, I know, but she keeps doing it…”
Bill de Blasio’s contribution to the 2016 Democratic primary includes an appearance with Hillary Clinton at a black tie political event in New York City, during which the New York mayor made a racially insensitive joke. Hillary just stood there laughing.
The New York mayor has deep ties to the Clinton machine. He served as campaign manager during Hillary’s successful senate bid in 2000. However, de Blasio didn’t exactly ingratiate himself to Clinton’s campaign team during the Democratic primary, when he displayed a reluctance to endorse Hillary, and heaped praise on Bernie Sanders.
“I find him a bit insufferable,” wrote Clinton pal Neera Tanden in a May 2015 email to Podesta, after de Blasio declined to offer unambiguous praise for Hillary during an appearance on Morning Joe. “Sorry if I let me extreme annoyance show.”
Here is the portion of the debate transcript de Blasio was referring to, regarding mass incarceration:
DLEMON: Alright, thank you very much, Anderson.
As a black man in America, if I were born today I’d have a one in three chance of ending up in prison in my life. Secretary Clinton, on the campaign trail, you are calling for an end to the era of mass incarceration, but a lot of folks in the black community blame the 1994 Crime Bill, a bill you supported for locking up a generation of black men.
Given what’s happened since 1994, why should black people trust you to get it right this time?
CLINTON: Well, Don’t, let me say this, Senator Sanders voted for that bill, we both supported it. And, I think it’s fair to say we did because back then there was an outcry over the rising crime rate, and people from all communities were asking that action be taken.
Now, my husband said at the NAACP last summer that it solved some problems, but it created other problems, and I agree. And, one of those problems was, unfortunately, a move to expand the reasons why people would be incarcerated, not just at the federal level which is what this bill about, but in states and localities as well. And, that’s why the very first speech that I gave in this campaign was about criminal justice reform, and ending the era of mass incarceration because I believe absolutely that too many families were broken up, too many communities were adversely affected. So, we’ve got to do a bunch of things.
On the criminal justice side, look, we’ve got to have better policing. That means body cameras, that means ending profiling, that means doing everything we can to make sure there’s respect between the community and the police.
And, when it comes to incarceration…
LEMON: But, Secretary…
CLINTON: … That means we have to limit mandatory minimums, we have to end disparities and treatment at last through (ph) incarceration…
LEMON: The question is why should black people trust you this time to get it right? That’s the question.
CLINTON: Well, Senator Sanders voted for it as well. Are you going to ask him the same question?
SANDERS: Probably will.
TAKE THE POLL