New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his decision to use a public gym Monday morning, just minutes before fitness facilities in the state were ordered to be closed by 8 pm, arguing that he has to “stay healthy so I can make decisions for the people of the city.”
The fiercest criticism—and that which he specifically addressed—came from his former top aides Rebecca Katz and Jonathan Rosen.
“I respect them both; they can say what they want, but I think this is just a perverse reaction, honestly,” the mayor said, reports The New York Post.
“I have been making extremely serious difficult decisions nonstop and then talking to the people in a very forthright manor about them,” he added. “There’s something wrong in the world where this kind of very small matter gets blown up like that by people, you know, who live in a world of public relations. I don’t live in that world. I live in the regular world.”
Katz called his decision “inexcusable and reckless” while Rosen chimed in that it was “pathetic” and “self-involved.”
She right. It’s pathetic. Self-involved. Inexcusable.— Jonathan Rosen (@JonathanRosenBR) March 16, 2020
Mayor de Blasio is indeed here at the Park Slope YMCA this morning. Passers by have commented negatively. One called him an idot. pic.twitter.com/FIgEmlf4Gf— andrew kaczynski?? (@KFILE) March 16, 2020
He later explained that he found nothing “problematic” with his decision to go to the gym because he needs to stay healthy for the people.
"I have to stay healthy so I can make decisions for the people of the city."— DaybreakInsider (@DaybreakInsider) March 17, 2020
de Blasio explaining why he is important and you are not. https://t.co/RatxChwyGM
The mayor's spokeswoman defended his gym attendance to a local NBC affiliate.
“The YMCA has been a huge part of [de Blasio’s] and his family’s life, like it has been for a lot of New Yorkers. It’s clear that’s about to change and before that, the mayor wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time,” the statement read. “That doesn’t change the fact that he is working around the clock to ensure the safety of New Yorkers. After today, gyms will close and he will no longer be visiting the YMCA for the foreseeable future.”
Update: He still doesn't understand.