De Blasio Takes ‘Speedgate’ Questions After Refusing Them Friday

Mayor Bill de Blasio today.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today.

Bill de Blasio finally addressed questions about his traffic law-breaking caravan after dodging reporters on Friday.

The mayor, however, refused to admit he did anything wrong, doubling down on his statement from last week that his chauffeured vehicle ran stop signs and broke the speed limit for undisclosed security reasons.

“Should everyone who works for me and should I follow the law scrupulously? Of course, yes,” Mr. de Blasio said today at an unrelated press conference in Staten Island. “If the NYPD in any given instance believes that there’s a security reason for doing something a certain way, I think that’s important to recognize and respect.”

Mr. de Blasio–who took few off-topic questions after refusing to take any on Friday, despite his vow to do exactly that–insisted the Thursday traffic violations were not an example of hypocrisy after he had just unveiled a comprehensive traffic safety platform days earlier. Rather, he said there were two separate issues: his vision for traffic safety in New York City and the security that is necessary for someone of his stature.

“People can hear this or not hear it, but I’ll keep saying that there are two different issues at play here: One is the very legitimate concern in a democratic society that we all live up to our commitments and we all live up to the law and none of us is above the law,” Mr. de Blasio said. “And I would say my message to my detail and all New York City employees is: Obey the law, drive in a way that’s safe and be careful. There’s no question about it.”

“The second issue is how we think about security protocols. I don’t tell the NYPD how to do their work when it comes to protecting me,” the mayor continued. “They’re the experts; I respect that. So in any given moment they may see something I don’t see, they may act in a way that isn’t immediately understandable to me. But they are trained to handle things a certain way.So I just want us to understand that there are two different questions here.”

Additional  reporting by Colin Campbell.

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