Republican candidate Joe Lhota recently snapped at a journalist, accusing him of perpetrating “horse hockey” and suggesting he could be “nothing but a tool” of Bill de Blasio, his front-running opponent in the mayor’s race.
Sitting down for a one-on-one interview with Juan Manuel Benitez on the Spanish-language NY1 Noticias, which aired Friday evening, Mr. Lhota grew infuriated when Mr. Benitez cited anonymous former subordinates who claimed they would never work for Mr. Lhota again. (In his defense, when Politicker profiled Mr. Lhota earlier this year, his former employees had nothing but praise for him.)
“Horse hockey. That’s horse hockey,” Mr. Lhota, a deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, immediately shot back. “You have no evidence whatsoever to say that. The idea that people who worked for me won’t work for me, is absolutely untrue. I dare you to put anybody in front of the camera to say that.”
Mr. Lhota then argued the line of questioning was biased in Mr. de Blasio’s favor.
“You are just reading a script from Bill de Blasio,” he declared while pointing his finger at Mr. Benitez. “You’re nothing but a tool of Bill de Blasio if you believe that; if they told you, they’d go on the record. Everybody, everybody who’s ever worked for me has not only supported me but they’ve contributed to me. Those people who have worked directly for me are some of my largest supporters.”
“So Juan, you can’t lie to the people of this city and you can’t make up a story that says, ‘They’ve said it to you but it’s off the record and they won’t go on the record.’ You have to have the cojones to put them on television to make sure because I do not believe one word you’re saying and your credibility is in question here–significantly,” Mr. Lhota continued.
“I’m telling you, this is not off the record, they didn’t want their names mentioned but they told me that,” Mr. Benitez insisted. “They told me directly, that information.”
“Put them in front of me,” came the reply, “and have them say it to my face. It’s wrong, it’s not true and they lied to you.”