News & Politics

Philly Wins the DNC Convention Sweepstakes, but de Blasio Remains ‘Pro-Cheesesteak’


Hours after being informed that Brooklyn had lost out on hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Mayor Bill de Blasio offered the winning city, Philadelphia, a hearty congratulations before expressing his own disappointment — and disagreement — with the decision.

“I’m not happy at the outcome; I’m disappointed by definition,” de Blasio said. “But we knew this would be a tough, tough fight, and people gave it their all…we do tip our hat to our friends in Philadelphia.

“I love cheesesteak,” he added, referring to the city’s signature sandwich. “I’m pro-cheesesteak.”

The Democratic National Committee announced its decision with a cameo appearance from the famous sandwich in a Facebook video of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz pulling a cheesesteak out of an office fridge.

(Which, of course, begs the question: Who the heck puts a cheesesteak in a fridge? That’s almost as bizarre as using a knife and fork to eat pizza.)

Food references and hat-tips aside, de Blasio did manage to get in a couple of subtle digs at Philly’s expense — he referred to the city of 1.5 million residents as “a town that does have some of the great attributes of New York City.”

The mayor also expressed surprise that New York, with its internationally renowned public-transit system and abundance of union-staffed hotels, wasn’t chosen. “If, for example, as a convention planner you have a strong preference for an arena surrounded by parking lots…I don’t have that to offer,” he said. “If that’s what they ultimately decided they value, New York City did not offer that option.”

The Democratic National Committee chooses the city to host its convention based on “resources, logistics, and security,” said de Blasio.

In the past six months, New York City activists have protested the police killings of two unarmed black men. Meanwhile, two police officers were murdered while sitting in their cruiser. In the aftermath of these incidents, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch and the New York Police Department’s rank and file have repeatedly fought City Hall.

When reporters asked whether corresponding tension in the city’s police department could have been a factor in the committee’s choice to pass over New York, de Blasio answered emphatically: “No.”

“I talked to countless people in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “And it was not raised by a single person.”

He also rebuffed concerns that Brooklyn was too liberal a choice for the Democratic Party, which will be trying to attract centrist voters during the presidential race in 2016.

“Progressive values fit where the party is now, and what a lot of people believe the party has to address in order to prevail,” he said. “A presidential candidate that does not talk about [income inequality] is not going to win. I think the values here were a plus.”

On another note, the mayor was once again holding a black mug. Reporters didn’t ask what was in it, but our money is on lemon herbal tea.


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