De Blasio Family Rallies to His Defense After Mayor’s ‘Racist’ Remark

The de Blasio family and campaign supporters rallying this afternoon.

The de Blasio family and campaign supporters rallying this afternoon.

With his wife and daughter by his side, Bill de Blasio turned what had intended to be an ordinary campaign rally into a staunch push back against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s latest controversial statement: calling Mr. de Blasio’s mayoral bid “racist” for showcasing his mixed-race family.

“All I can say is I hope the mayor will reconsider what he said. I hope he’ll realize that it was inappropriate. And I think the people of this city are ready for us to move forward together,” Mr. de Blasio said earlier this afternoon, standing inside Brooklyn District Attorney candidate Ken Thompson’s campaign headquarters.

Mr. de Blasio further defended his campaign and said he was “exceedingly proud” of his family’s role, echoing his initial response this morning upon hearing word of the New York magazine article with Mr. Bloomberg’s accusation. “They are each and every one strong and independent and make their own decisions. And we all have proceeded as a family together,” he told the reporters and volunteers packed into the room.

Still, Mr. de Blasio refrained from some of the sharp language employed by his surrogates, including Bertha Lewis, president of the Black Institute, who had a word or two for the man she called “Big Mike.”

“Big Mikey says that Bill de Blasio is a racist. I mean: What?! Seriously?! Because he’s a father, a husband and a man who is proud of his family of color?! Well I am, too. And if Bill de Blasio’s a racist, so am I! So are we all,” she declared at the event. “Big Mike, your days are numbered. Come Tuesday maybe you’ll finally get the message.”

Bill de Blasio, his wife and his daughter.

Bill de Blasio, his wife and his daughter.

Talking to reporters outside the rally, which was intended as a get-out-the-vote effort for Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Thompson, Ms. de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, laughed off suggestions that her husband had used his family as a prop.

“Do I look like an inanimate object or a tool?” she said, laughing is disbelief. “I walk. I talk. I make my own decisions.”

Mr. de Blasio’s daughter Chiara further mocked the suggestion.

“Everything I do for the campaign is my decision, and I think that–or at least I suspect–I was born 20 years ago, my dad did not know he was running for mayor and he did not seek to marry a black woman to put her on display. Thank you,” she said.