De Blasio Says He Likely Would Have Rushed to Scene of Train Derailment

Bill de Blasio today.
Bill de Blasio today.

Bill de Blasio says he would have tried to arrive at the scene of yesterday’s fatal train accident if he were already mayor.

Unlike current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was reportedly golfing in Bermuda hours after the derailment, Mr. de Blasio told reporters today his “instinct” would be to rush to the scene.

“For me, it would be generally-speaking, important to be there,” he said.

“My instinct in these things is to be present,” he added. “Obviously this is a case-by-case situation.”

Still, Mr. de Blasio, who was one of Mr. Bloomberg’s harshest critics during the campaign, held back from excoriating Mr. Bloomberg for the no-show.

“I’ll let the current mayor speak for himself about his choice,” said Mr. de Blasio, pointing to the fact that the train company is operated by the state-run MTA. “Clearly this was the governor’s purview … Because it was MTA Metro-North, it was the governor’s responsibility and we all need to defer to him on that.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s office declined to confirm his whereabouts Sunday after a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx, killing four passengers and injuring dozens more. Gov. Andrew Cuomo went directly to the scene, leading an afternoon press conference, and other local officials appeared on-site throughout the day.

Mr. de Blasio declined to say whether Mr. Bloomberg’s absence was the reason he chose not to visit the site in his capacity as mayor-elect. “I thought it was smart to respect the state’s leadership and you know, Mayor Bloomberg is the mayor for the remainder of this month and we respect that,” he told Politicker, “and it’s his choice to make how he handles the situation and it’s important to defer to that.” 

Mr. de Blasio did, however, differ with the current mayor’s policy of refusing to inform the public of his whereabouts if he travels out of town.

“I think it’s important to alert the public and the media broadly about my whereabouts,” he said. “For security reasons and other important reasons, it may not be right down to the street address and where the front and back door are, that kind of thing. But broadly speaking, you know when we recently had the meetings in Puerto Rico, we gave a broad rendition of where we were.”

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