New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to raise campaign funds on Thursday by casting GOP mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis as a close ally of President Donald Trump.
De Blasio, a Democrat running for a second term, sent a campaign fundraising email Thursday that featured a 2013 snapshot of Malliotakis, a state assemblywoman from Staten Island, standing next to Trump and City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island).
“With Donald Trump as president, it’s no surprise Nicole Malliotakis has emerged as the Republican candidate to take on Mayor de Blasio — after all, it was only four years ago she talked to Trump about running for Governor of New York,” de Blasio’s campaign manager, Rick Fromberg, wrote in the email.
In 2013, Trump weighed the possibility of running for governor and met with several prominent Republicans and strategists before deciding against the idea, according to media reports. The photo with Malliotakis was from a meeting between Trump and various GOP state lawmakers.
The fundraising appeal was the latest effort by de Blasio’s campaign to tie Malliotakis to Trump after she emerged as the GOP’s presumptive nominee last week following the departure of real estate executive Paul Massey from the race.
Malliotakis, in an interview on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show,” criticized de Blasio for attempting to make the race about Trump, rather than focusing on local issues.
“This election is not about Donald Trump,” Malliotakis said. “This is not about a national ideological agenda . . . this election is about the quality of life issues facing New York that have gone to the wayside.”
Malliotakis, who has said she voted for Trump in November, served as state chairwoman of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s failed campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.
Speaking on WNYC, Malliotakis said with Republicans in control of the U.S. House and Senate, she was in a better position than de Blasio to “negotiate and lobby” on behalf of the city’s needs.
“I think there’s going to be issues where I agree with the president, there’s going to be issues where I disagree with the president,” Malliotakis said on WNYC. “What I do believe is when there’s a need for me to stand up against this president and the Republicans in Washington I . . . will certainly do that.”