At an appearance in a Brooklyn church on Sunday, Bill de Blasio stood up and praised his fellow city councilmember Charles Barron for some of the work the two had done together, like opposing the term-limits extension.
Barron was having none of it.
“I don’t appreciate that. I think that’s disingenuous,” Barron said in a telephone interview Monday night.
Barron, who was in the audience when de Blasio praised him, told me that he subsequently stood up and told the congregants, “I don’t want you to think we have some great relationship here.”
Barron said he thought de Blasio was trying to “take advantage of me being there because I’m very popular in that church.”
“I don’t appreciate him coming to this church acting like we have some great, peaceful, cooperative camaraderie at the City Council, when, in fact, Bill de Blasio, who sided with the whites in the most racially divisive vote in the history of the City Council, the most racist vote in the history of the City Council–it was Bill de Blasio who is supposed to be so progressive–he did not give us our vote then, and now he’s coming here seeking your vote,” he said, referring to the Council’s vote against naming a street after black activist Sonny Carson.
Barron said he also criticized de Blasio for calling a 2002 meeting with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe at City Hall a mistake. (Barron thinks Mugabe gets a bum rap because white Western leaders resent powerful black men.)
In the interview, Barron said he did stand with de Blasio on opposing the term-limits extension, but faulted him for other votes, like the 421a housing bill, which Barron said did not recalibrate how much affordable housing the city would require from developers.
When asked for a response, de Blasio, through a spokesman, issued this statement: “My wife Chirlane and I appreciated the opportunity to worship for the second time at St. Paul Community Baptist Church.”
De Blasio’s wife is African-American.
Barron said he was not supporting anyone in the public advocate’s race.