The nascent months of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign weren’t liberal enough, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who on Friday took credit for nudging his fellow Democrat to the political left.
Calling into his weekly public radio program “#AskTheMayor,” de Blasio defended the decision to withhold his nod until October 2015 — months after most of New York’s Democratic establishment had endorsed the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
“I’m very comfortable with the fact that I pushed the Clinton campaign to take a more progressive stance, and even if that meant holding out for a while, I think that’s part of the political process,” de Blasio told host Brian Lehrer on WNYC radio Friday morning.
He added: “Look at the Democratic Party platform — the most progressive in decades. That’s not because people were always polite.”
Clinton has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, supported looser immigration laws and pushed for stricter gun control, among other left-leaning positions.
On Friday afternoon, her media office did not answer a message seeking comment.
De Blasio’s belated endorsement — and frequent praise of Clinton’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — frustrated her campaign, according to hacked emails from inside her camp, disclosed this week by the WikiLeaks organization.
In one email exchange from June 2015 with a Clinton spokeswoman, Clinton’s campaign manager called de Blasio — who was a volunteer in his youth with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua — a “terrorist.” The campaign manager, Robby Mook, appeared to be joking.
In other correspondence, de Blasio is shown suggesting to Clinton’s team that he would eventually endorse her — even as he proclaimed neutrality in public.
The emails, in which correspondents often use Clinton’s initials, depict a man seeking more and more personal access to her in order to position himself as a premier conduit to the left. Such a relationship, top aide Huma Abedin wrote in 2014 to colleagues, “will not be tenable for HRC.”