New York City Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly refused to take strict measures to combat the coronavirus until aides threatened to quit which came after he attacked President Donald Trump over the issue.
“There had been arguments and shouting matches between the mayor and some of his advisers; some top health officials had even threatened to resign if he refused to accept the need to close schools and businesses, according to several people familiar with the internal discussions,” The New York Times reported. “Teachers were threatening not to show up to school on Monday. A growing number of public health experts and politicians were calling for much of the city to be shut down to curb the spread of the virus.”
Bars and restaurants remained open over the weekend and were packed, something that caused a significant amount of criticism online from those who were closely tracking the spread of the coronavirus.
De Blasio, a far-left Democrat who supports socialist Bernie Sanders, has responded to the crisis by repeatedly stating that the federal government needs to take over the supply chain and that entire industries needs to be nationalized.
“It is quite clear that this crisis is growing intensely,” de Blasio said during a press conference on Sunday. “I’m very, very concerned that we see a rapid spread of this disease and it is time to take more dramatic measures and I will tell you that the issue that has been on everyone’s mind is our public schools.”
De Blasio said that he was closing New York City public schools to help prevent the continued spread of the virus.
De Blasio signed an executive order on Monday that shut down the ability of restaurants and bars to serve food inside their establishments, but did allow them to deliver food to people.
De Blasio was then widely criticized for going and working out at the gym, something that people said showed that he was not taking the outbreak seriously.
“The Mayor’s actions today are inexcusable and reckless,” said his former adviser Rebecca Katz.
“It’s pathetic. Self-involved. Inexcusable,” former adviser Jonathan Rosen added.
De Blasio responded to the criticism by saying that he needed to go workout so that he could be healthy and take care of the city.
Mayor de Blasio is indeed here at the Park Slope YMCA this morning. Passers by have commented negatively. One called him an idot. pic.twitter.com/FIgEmlf4Gf
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) March 16, 2020
De Blasio has faced numerous questions over his work habits, or lack thereof, over the years including allegations that he sleeps on the job.
“Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily exercise routine at a Brooklyn gym often leaves him too tuckered out to stay awake at City Hall, where he catches up on his shuteye by crashing on a couch in his office,” The New York Post reported in August 2017. “[De Blasio] regularly takes midday naps while everyone around him is busy at work, according to former aides with knowledge of the siestas.”
The Post reported the next month that de Blasio refused a “yes-or-no” answer on the matter and instead attacked the publications for asking.
This report has been updated to include additional information.