One of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s fiercest critics became his staunchest defender Tuesday, angrily denouncing an Arizona congressman who suggested that the mayor’s daughter could be kidnapped as a result of the upcoming 9/11 trial.
“For any member of this House to suggest that somehow to support the decision to have a trial would jeopardize family members of the mayor of the city of New York is outrageous,” Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens) thundered on the House floor.
“That member should apologize and that member should then be quiet,” said Weiner, who had spent months preparing to run against Bloomberg before dropping out of the mayoral race.
In fact, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), who made his incendiary comments Monday, did apologize yesterday after video of his speech rocketed across the Internet.
“I apologize for the insensitivity of my remarks with respect to the mayor or his family, however I think it is important to note that this decision involves potential risk to innocent people,” Shadegg told the Associated Press.
Just the night before, Shadegg expressed his opposition to trying admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects in Manhattan, issuing a stern warning to Bloomberg and others from the House floor.
“Well, mayor, how are you going to feel when it’s your daughter that’s kidnapped at school by a terrorist,” Shadegg said. “How are you going to feel when it’s some clerk, some innocent clerk of the court whose son or daughter is kidnapped or the judge’s wife or the jailer’s little brother or little sister? This is political correctness run amok.”
Controversy is not new to Shadegg, who made headlines just days ago for bringing the baby of a staff member to the House floor as a prop during the health care debate.
Bloomberg’s spokesman, Stu Loeser, said Tuesday, “we’re declining to dignify the remarks with a response.”
The mayor has two grown daughters, Emma, 30, who works for an anti-poverty organization, and Georgina, 26, a champion equestrian.
Immediately after the Obama administration announced its intent to hold the trials in Manhattan, Bloomberg voiced support, adding that he has “great confidence” in the NYPD and federal authorities to provide security.
At least one critic of Obama’s decision, Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island), also blasted his fellow Republican Tuesday, calling Shadegg’s remarks “anti-New York.”
“I don’t know why he said this, but if there’s anyone who doesn’t deserve it, it’s Mike Bloomberg,” King told the Daily News.