Melissa Mark-Viverito Calls Eric Cantor’s Bronx Visit ‘Unfortunate’

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: NYC Council/William Alatriste)

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: NYC Council/William Alatriste)

First, it was Gov. Rick Perry’s “traveling circus.” Now, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has a beef with another prominent Republican parachuting into the city.

Ms. Mark-Viverito, a left-leaning Democrat, ripped Congressman Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, for visiting a Bronx charter school today to promote the benefits of the publicly-financed and privately-run schools.

Several months ago, Mr. Cantor blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio, an ally of the speaker, for his criticisms of the charter school movement.

Congressman Eric Cantor. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Congressman Eric Cantor. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“I know that when we were fighting, right, early on in the administration, Cantor made some comments against what de Blasio was doing,” Ms. Mark-Viverito told the Observer.  “I think it’s unfortunate that he would choose to come to New York City to try to divide and to be divisive.”

“So I don’t think there’s any place for that kind of fueling [of] that division and rancor that exists and I think that’s irresponsible on his part,” she added.

Mr. Cantor, a conservative Republican, has been touring charter schools across the country and helped spearhead legislation in Congress that would help charter schools score federal dollars.

While many Republicans and some Democrats nationally have supported the charter movement, Democrats in the city, including Ms. Mark-Viverito, have been hostile to their expansion, at times accusing them of taking space away from traditional public schools.

A representative Mr. Cantor, who struck a more conciliatory tone with Mr. de Blasio today, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.