Joe Lhota stepped up to the plate today for his one-time boss, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Mr. Lhota, currently running for mayor himself, sent out a press release blasting former mayor David Dinkins’ comments about his loss to Mr. Giuliani in 1993.
“I think it was just racism, pure and simple,” Mr. Dinkins wrote in his forthcoming memoir, highlighted in a New York Times piece published yesterday.
Mr. Lhota, needless to say, couldn’t disagree more.
“David Dinkins is wrong to claim that is why he lost his re-election,” Mr. Lhota said today. “He’s doing a disservice to New Yorkers by reducing the debate to incitable comments about race. Both Democrats and Republicans voted him out of office because he was incapable of governing the city.”
Mr. Lhota presented a variety of reasons as to why Mr. Dinkins didn’t win his re-election bid, including the city’s crime rate at the time, “record welfare rolls” and race riots in Crown Heights.
Showcasing a steel trap-like memory, Mr. Lhota also recalled editorials of the time titled “Dave, Do Something!” among other stirring headlines.
The associations between Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Lhota have loomed largely over the latter’s campaign, particularly posing a sizable threat to his procurement of African-American support, with whom Mr. Giuliani didn’t always have the best of luck. Mr. Lhota had a preemptive strike against this line of argument in his statement today, however.
“When I am mayor, I will have an open door with every community and represent every New Yorker equally. The fact of the matter is, people from all political persuasions and ethnicities voted Mr. Dinkins out of office. He owes all New Yorkers an apology,” he said.
For his part, Mr. Dinkins, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, defended his record in his book, acknowledging the difficulties but pinned the issue on race.
“The city is in terrible financial straits,” he wrote. “Do you really want a black man presiding over it in this time of trouble?”