New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is not happy with Vice President Joe Biden’s allegation that his city’s LaGuardia airport can be easily confused with “some third-world country.” Noting that the aging airport needs “an upgrade,” he chided the Vice President for comments he considered “inappropriate.”
De Blasio responded to comments the Vice President made at an Amtrak event in Philadelphia while discussing the need to improve America’s infrastructure, in which he suggested that someone blindfolded and brought into LaGuardia Airport would think they were in “some third-world country,” while the same person would think Hong Kong’s modern airports were American. Biden punctuated his remark by clarifying that he was “not joking.”
At a news conference Friday, de Blasio made clear he did not find the comments helpful, calling them “inappropriate.” Noting that LaGuardia handles “an extraordinary amount of traffic,” he suggested that those who work there deserve better from the Vice President. “I didn’t like that comment,” he declared, “and I think it was not the right way to talk about it.”
The Vice President’s swipe at New York City’s infrastructure comes at a time in which de Blasio is under fire for running a City Hall that appears more focused on ideological philosophy than the logistics of keeping New York City running. A report last week from Politicker quoted a number of officials in City Hall as being “confused,” as many of their queries about logistical issues are met with the directive to “be progressive,” with no clarification on what a progressive policy for many of the departments would look like.
Some sources quoted in the piece also worried that de Blasio was too concerned with getting his name in the papers or responding to every possible news story that involves New York City. De Blasio responded to the altercation between New York Rep. Michael Grimm and NY1 reporter Michael Scotto just as the two parties had independently resolved the dispute, calling for an apology. He quickly turned complaints from Manhattan’s Upper East Side that he did not handle a major snowstorm properly into a shovel-ready photo op.
The publicity seeking does not appear to stop at media snippets, either, and stretches deep into promotion of government policies. De Blasio has made an entire campaign out of his plan to raise taxes to provide a universal pre-Kindergarten program, an initiative considered too far left for Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The Vice President has yet to respond to de Blasio or apologize for his comments. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, has also not responded to the comments, though one imagines the Port Authority has bigger issues on its hands.