- Getty/Drew Angerer
- Mayor Bill de Blasio, one of the lowest polling Democrats in the deep presidential field, was in Iowa Saturday night when New York City lost power in large swathes of Manhattan in one of the worst blackouts in years.
- The mayor was criticized by Governor Andrew Cuomo and other New Yorkers, some of whom were stuck in subways underground for an hour.
- The mayor defended himself on CNN Sunday morning, saying “when you’re a mayor or a governor, you’re going to travel for a variety of reasons.”
- The outage was most likely caused by a fire on the electrical grid, and de Blasio has said it was not a cyberattack.
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Another chapter in the long-running feud between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was added this weekend.
When a power outage struck large swathes of the west side of Manhattan Saturday night, putting more than 70,o00 people out of power for five hours, it was Cuomo, not de Blasio, leading the response because the mayor was campaigning in Iowa for his long-shot presidential bid.
The governor, and many other New Yorkers who were stuck in subways and forced to direct their own traffic, were not too pleased.
— Steven Bognar (@Bogs4NY) July 14, 2019
“Look, mayors are important and situations like this come up, you know and you have to be on site,” Cuomo said Saturday night. “I’ve been governor of New York for eight years. In that time I can count the number of times I left the state on my fingers.”
The two have tussled publicly over funding for the subway, which is controlled by the state legislature, after being long-time supporters of each other.
The mayor did eventually get back to the city late Saturday night, and defended his travel on a Sunday morning show on CNN. He told host Jake Tapper that “when you’re a mayor or governor, you’re going to travel for variety of reasons.”
“The important thing is to have the hand on the wheel, make sure things are moving effectively, and communicate to people,” he said on the show.
— wilkssc (@wilkssc) July 13, 2019
The blackout, which knocked out power in Times Square and at several Broadway theaters, was said to be caused by a fire on the electric grid, according to ConEdison, and happened 42 years exactly after the infamous 1977 blackout, which plunged the whole city into darkness. The mayor has repeatedly denied that it was a cyberattack.
“When adversity comes up, New Yorkers deal with it in amazing ways,” de Blasio said Sunday at a press conference at a ConEdison work site.
At the same press conference, he also praised first responders, and said that no injuries or hospitalizations have so far been reported.
“We, as in every situation, are going to fully analyze every detail” to find the cause and figure out how to prevent another from happening, he said. Both he and Cuomo have called for a deeper investigation to the blackout’s cause.