CNN’s John Berman quizzed New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams on Monday about his claim that two of his rivals, including Andrew Yang, formed an alliance against him to prevent a person of color from being elected mayor.
“For them to come together like they are doing in the last three days, they’re saying we can’t trust a person of color to be the mayor of the City of New York when this city is overwhelmingly people of color,” said Adams, who is black.
Yang responded to the allegation at a press conference, saying, “I would tell Eric Adams that I’ve been Asian my entire life.”
Voters are set to head to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the ranked-choice Democratic mayoral primary.
“Listen, two of your main opponents, Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang, campaigned together over the weekend. That seemed to bother you. Why?” Berman asked Adams during a Monday appearance on CNN’s New Day.
“Well because it just sent the wrong message,” Adams responded. “It was on June 19, Juneteenth, a federal holiday that was just signed into law. They sent a signal as you have all of the African American and Hispanic candidates in the race. What message were you sending during this time that we’re talking about how do you empower various ethnic groups in politics?”
“You tell me. What message do you think they were sending by campaigning together?” Berman asked.
“Well, Kathryn Garcia, number one, she stated that she was not endorsing Andrew Yang. Andrew Yang stated that he was endorsing her. And his attitude was just basically, ‘We want to make sure that we’re keeping Adams and others out of the place of mayor.’ It just sends the wrong message to those in our city,” Adams said.
“Are you suggesting it’s racial?” Berman pressed, at which Adams appeared to backtrack on his original accusation.
“No, I’m suggesting that those who are running in office in New York, those who are looking at the candidates in the field, they felt as though it sent the wrong message on Juneteenth — to make that announcement on Juneteenth, with all of the diversity that was in the field of African Americans and Latin-speaking candidates,” Adams said.
Berman also questioned Adams on a suggestion made by some of his supporters that Yang and Garcia working together works to “suppress the vote.”
“I’m not sure I understand how that works,” Berman said.
Adams answered that he “can’t speak on behalf of my supporters,” but “African Americans are very clear on voter suppression.”
“They feel based on their perception, that it suppressed the vote, then I respect their feelings. It’s not up to me to interpret their feelings,” Adams said.
NYC mayoral candidates Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang campaigning together on Juneteenth "sent the wrong signal … and that is how many of the African American, Hispanic candidates felt after they saw it," mayoral candidate Eric Adams says.https://t.co/CT3kogacAt pic.twitter.com/Wsr3NLuKsR
— New Day (@NewDay) June 21, 2021
Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former NYPD captain, held a substantial lead in the mayoral race Monday morning.
Yang, who ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary, had previously led the mayoral race, but his lead eroded in May.