NYC Mayoral Debate: Republican Rivals Trade Insults

They fought over nearly every little thing, hurled insults backwards and forwards and precipitated a lot normal chaos that each had their microphones minimize off at totally different occasions.

And if that wasn’t sufficient, the 2 Republicans working for mayor of New York City even introduced props — and a stuffed bear — to their first main debate on Wednesday.

It wasn’t as if the 2 candidates, Curtis Sliwa, the founding father of the Guardian Angels, and Fernando Mateo, a neighborhood businessman, lacked widespread floor: They agreed that public security was probably the most essential difficulty dealing with town and have pledged to “re-fund the police” and so as to add officers to the division, as a substitute of defunding the police as some Democrats wish to do.

But for probably the most half, the lads prevented coverage dialogue in favor of unveiled criticisms of one another. It started with Mr. Sliwa criticizing Mr. Mateo for his fund-raising efforts for Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.

“Bill de Blasio single-handedly destroyed this city,” Mr. Sliwa mentioned, earlier than holding up a photograph of Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Mateo collectively.

“Along with you,” Mr. Mateo, a restaurateur, shouted again, repeatedly.

They continued to yell in the course of the digital debate even whereas muted, pointing their fingers towards their cameras.

The candidates have been as soon as buddies, however the race has turned bitter forward of the Republican main on June 22. Mr. Mateo known as Mr. Sliwa, who joined the Republican Party final 12 months, a “compulsive liar” and a comic.

“Curtis, you’re a clown, and you’re making a mockery of this very important primary,” Mr. Mateo mentioned.

The crowded Democratic main has acquired much more consideration and is more likely to determine the following mayor in a metropolis the place Democrats outnumber Republicans by greater than six to at least one. Still, Mr. Sliwa and Mr. Mateo are combating arduous to turn into the face of the Republican Party within the normal election in November.

There have been some temporary settlement on coverage points: Both wish to elevate the cap on constitution colleges and do away with velocity cameras. Both mentioned law enforcement officials mustn’t must stay within the metropolis, and each wish to maintain the Specialized High School Admissions Test as the one standards for entry to elite excessive colleges.

Mr. Sliwa repeatedly accused Mr. Mateo of not driving the subway — “there is no subway stop in Irvington,” he mentioned, referring to the village in Westchester County the place Mr. Mateo owns a house.

Mr. Mateo, oddly, accused Mr. Sliwa of being a subway rider as if that have been an insult in a metropolis that had almost six million every day subway riders earlier than the pandemic took a toll on ridership.

They disagreed over whether or not President Donald J. Trump received the 2020 election. Mr. Mateo mentioned he did; Mr. Sliwa mentioned he didn’t. Mr. Mateo voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and 2020; Mr. Sliwa didn’t.

“I have had a love-hate relationship with former President Donald Trump going back 30 years,” Mr. Sliwa mentioned.

Both candidates mentioned they supported a choice by Representative Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican from Staten Island, to vote to not certify the 2020 presidential election outcomes.

Mr. Sliwa and Mr. Mateo are first-time candidates and publicity hounds who’ve appeared within the tabloids for years. Mr. Sliwa, 67, grew to become a star within the 1980s because the founding father of the Guardian Angels and was a radio host recognized for outrageous feedback. He has staged a collection of attention-grabbing occasions — together with a mask-burning ceremony as members of the Trammps sang their 1976 disco hit, “Disco Inferno,” and a 24-hour subway tour the place he visited the positioning of a bloody stabbing.

Mr. Mateo, 63, was born within the Dominican Republic and desires to be town’s first Hispanic mayor. He is maybe finest recognized for his “Toys for Guns” program within the 1990s, and he ran a carpet enterprise and led teams that advocated for livery drivers and bodega house owners.

Understand the N.Y.C. Mayoral Race

Who’s Running for Mayor? There are greater than a dozen folks nonetheless within the race to turn into New York City’s subsequent mayor, and the first will likely be held on June 22. Here’s a rundown of the candidates.Get to Know the Candidates: We requested main candidates for mayor questions on every little thing from police reform and local weather change to their favourite bagel order and exercise routine.What is Ranked-Choice Voting? New York City started utilizing ranked-choice voting for main elections this 12 months, and voters will be capable to checklist as much as 5 candidates so as of choice. Confused? We might help.

An earlier debate hosted by WABC-AM this spring turned nasty when Mr. Sliwa introduced up the fund-raising difficulty. Mr. Mateo claimed that he had damaging data on Mr. Sliwa.

“I have enough dirt to cover your body 18 feet over,” Mr. Mateo mentioned.

At the talk on Wednesday, Mr. Mateo mentioned he had bundled cash for Mr. de Blasio, however that he did nothing unlawful. He in contrast it to different Republicans who had donated to Democrats up to now, like Mr. Trump, who gave cash to Hillary Clinton, and the billionaire John Catsimatidis, who gave to Mr. de Blasio.

“That’s what we do when we’re in business,” he mentioned.

Mr. Mateo and Mr. Sliwa had been buddies for 40 years, and Mr. Mateo as soon as put in carpet in Mr. Sliwa’s house. But the feud started once they each entered the race.

The Republican Party has been weakened within the metropolis lately, and its leaders are break up between the 2 candidates. The Manhattan, Queens and Bronx events endorsed Mr. Mateo. The Staten Island and Brooklyn events backed Mr. Sliwa.

Mr. Mateo has raised more cash — about $520,000 — and says he’ll qualify for public matching funds quickly. Mr. Sliwa has raised about $315,000.

The high Democratic candidates have raised much more. Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, has collected greater than $9 million by personal and public funds.

With much less cash for tv promoting, the Republicans have been attempting to get in entrance of reports cameras as a lot as doable. Mr. Sliwa is “pure showbiz, and he’s awfully good at it,” mentioned Kenneth Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College.

“The name of the game in the Republican primary is going to be name recognition,” he mentioned, “and that generates pressure to be more and more outrageous to get more and more free publicity.”

Near the top of the hourlong debate, Mr. Mateo instantly launched his personal prop: “Trumpy Bear” — a stuffed animal carrying a purple tie and that includes Trump-like hair. Then he criticized Mr. Sliwa’s dwelling preparations.

“He lives in a 320-square-foot apartment with 13 cats,” Mr. Mateo mentioned.

“Fifteen rescue cats,” Mr. Sliwa corrected him.