Eric Adams ripped his mayoral race rivals Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia for campaigning together on Juneteenth — which he says represented a broadside against him, a black man.
On the holiday Saturday, Yang told supporters to rank Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, second on ranked-choice ballots — a maneuver the front-running Brooklyn borough president said was offensive.
“That last-minute attempt to derail me on June 19! That is when they did that. While we were celebrating liberation and freedom from enslavement, they sent a message, and I thought it was the wrong message,” Adams said outside St. George’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn.
“In a year with Black Lives Matters marches, when people talk about inequality, where people are talking about how do we lift up black and brown people in the city as well as all New Yorkers, that was their symbol on June 19, [on the day of] the federal holiday that was put in place,” Adams went on. “So I have a problem with that.”
Yang’s campaign fired back, calling Adams’ comments on the former businessman’s partnership with Garcia “wacky.”
“We’re expecting all sorts of crazy but this is particularly wacky, even for Eric,” said campaign co-manager Chris Coffey.
“Andrew Yang has been saying nice things about Kathryn for months and Eric’s rhetoric won’t stop us from working together on issues we agree on. If Eric can’t work with others, he probably shouldn’t be mayor.”
A rep for Garcia called the retired police captain’s remarks “cynical.”
“These cynical attacks are factually wrong and insulting to New York City voters who passed Ranked Choice Voting by a 73% margin,” said campaign spokesperson Annika Reno.
“We also hope all campaigns would encourage their supporters to fully exercise their voting power in this election, instead of resorting to divisive politics that erode New York City’s democracy.”
Adams’ comments came after Garcia and Yang, who is Asian American, on Saturday passed out campaign material together in Queens, where Yang endorsed Garcia has his second choice while Garcia didn’t return the favor. The pair campaigned together in Flushing in the morning, and later held a joint press conference in lower Manhattan, after Yang rode along in the de Blasio administration official’s campaign van.
In response, Adams and his surrogates claimed– and have repeated Sunday — that the two candidates’ arrangement is a mischievous “back-room” effort and attempt at voter “suppression” to prevent a black candidate from being elected.
“It is very harmful to the process,” former Gov. David Paterson said Saturday in a statement blasted out by Adams’ campaign. “It is an act of political chicanery and introduces a very disturbing dividing of the city’s electorate.”
Garcia on Sunday downplayed her alliance with Yang, noting she did not tell supporters to rank him, when asked about the “supposed alliance” by a man who identified himself as Jerry.
“Oh, I wanted his number twos,” Garcia told a man before she campaigned with Yang, according a tweet by NY1 reporter Courtney Gross.
“He said his No. 1s should vote for me No. 2, and I did not endorse.”