Mayor Bill de Blasio’s long-shot presidential bid shows little sign of slowing down amid dwindling support, a scramble for donations, and a shocking plane-deboarding scandal. Last week the mayor spent much of the second Democratic primary debate sparring with Joe Biden when he wasn’t being heckled. This week de Blasio has a new sparring partner: Sean Hannity.
The mayor spent nearly an hour trading barbs with the Fox News host during a lengthy and often bizarre debate on Wednesday night. And though the two men did not agree on much—aside from a shared admiration for pizza—they both seemed to be having a jolly good time, yukking it up as they debated everything from immigration policy to “meatless Mondays.”
During one of the more tense moments of the “interview” (if it can be called that), Hannity repeatedly grilled the "far left" mayor about guns. (The mayor had tweeted his support for stronger gun laws after last weekend’s mass shootings.)
“Does every New Yorker… have the right to have a firearm in their house?” Hannity repeatedly asked. “They have a right to be safe,” de Blasio responded, dodging the question and boasting about how he’s added 2,000 police officers on patrol. The mayor grinned uncomfortably as Hannity launched into a dramatic imagined scenario of a “law-abiding” New Yorker needing to defend himself against a home invader. “I ain’t buying what you’re selling,” de Blasio answered.
In a lighter moment, Hannity mocked de Blasio’s support for “Meatless Mondays,” the new meal program in which New York public schools serve all-vegetarian meals once a week. Hannity unveiled his preferred school diet—“McDonald's Mondays,” “Wendy’s Wednesdays,” et. al—and claimed kids would prefer that. And so on. “You really are a threat to society,” de Blasio retorted. (The two seemed to agree on pizza—though Hannnity missed an opportunity to grill the mayor about his controversial history of eating it with a knife and fork.)
When Hannity began ranting about immigration (at one point accusing de Blasio of having "500,000 illegal immigrants in his city"), the mayor called it a distraction and launched into a critique of Hannity’s right-wing parent company. “What Fox and News Corps do is try to take people’s minds off the fact that they're being screwed economically by the one percent.” (Hannity, of course, is not a fan of de Blasio new proposal to tax the rich aggressively, which the mayor emphasized at last week’s debate. “I think you're stealing from me,” Hannity said.)
The overall tone of chummy combativeness is part of what made de Blasio's appearance so odd. The mayor spent much of the interview grinning, and seemed to enjoy facing questions from Fox News more than he enjoys getting grilled by New York press about New York issues. As we've observed previously, de Blasio seems tired of his job in the city, and the Fox appearance highlights how relieved he seems to have escaped it in favor of a national stage.
Hannity also encouraged de Blasio’s fellow Democrats to come on his show. Elizabeth Warren has notably refused to go on Fox News.
Meanwhile, de Blasio’s campaign is in a desperate push for donors. Politico reported today that the mayor is betting on supporters in the city’s Orthodox Jewish community in order to qualify for the next Democratic debate.
You can watch the full interview below.