NEW YORK—It is no secret Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be doing things differently from his predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and that includes how he will respond to emergencies.
Bloomberg was a no-show to the Metro North train derailment that took four lives and injured more than 60 on Sunday. His office put out no statement and refused to answer repeated questions as to his whereabouts.
On Sunday night Bloomberg surfaced at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx to visit the injured, but refused to say where he was, according to multiple news reports.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Howard Saul discovered the mayor was golfing at Mid Ocean golf course in Bermuda at the time of the accident. After receiving the report, Bloomberg did not leave the course, choosing to finish his round instead, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The revelation drew a sharp backlash and the mayor chose to defend himself in an unannounced press conference prior at a bill signing at City Hall on Monday afternoon.
“I was informed about the train wreck, I don’t know, within minutes, or 20 minutes, half an hour after it happened, and was in constant communication with my commissioners who were there to do the job,” Bloomberg said, according to the Daily News. “They’re supposed to show up and they’re supposed to do it. And that’s exactly what they did. And I don’t think there’s any other city that could have done the kind of job that we did, that’s the bottom line.”
When asked where he was Bloomberg scoffed asking if the reporter had a real question.
“You just have to check the public schedule for where I am at any point in time,” Bloomberg said. “It will certainly tell you anything that’s germane to the job.”
At a prior press conference de Blasio refused to chide the mayor for not joining Gov. Andrew Cuomo trackside in the Bronx, who had the lead because Metro North is part of a state agency.
“My instinct is to be present even if the city is not the lead,” de Blasio said. “For me it would be, generally speaking, important to be there.”
When asked if he would be more transparent about his schedule, de Blasio agreed it was important, within reason.
“I think it’s important to alert the public and the media broadly,” de Blasio said, adding he would not always give the address for security reasons, but would let people know where he is.
During the Thanksgiving holiday de Blasio’s public schedule only said, “there are no public events scheduled,” however, at a press conference the day prior, he said he would be in Connecticut with family—after he was asked.
The mayor-elect was, himself, not at the crash site on Sunday. When asked what kept him away, he said the state had the lead on the investigation and Mayor Bloomberg was in charge until the end of the month.