CHELSEA PIERS, Manhattan — In the 62 year history of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, there’s no record of the sitting Mayor of New York City ever skipping the cultural celebration.
That is, until this year, when Mayor Bill de Blasio — who’s now running for President — will instead be on the stump in Iowa.
“Being in Iowa instead of at the parade sends the message that he cares more about Iowa votes than Puerto Rican ones,” said Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President.
“If I was part of his campaign staff, I would tell him, ‘you do the parade and then you go anywhere else you need to go,’” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.
Some politicians at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Gala at Chelsea Piers called de Blasio’s decision “a slap in the face.” But the parade chairman said he accepted what a de Blasio spokesman called a “scheduling conflict.”
“We don’t have bad feelings, we don’t feel slighted,” said parade chairman Louis Maldonado.
Maldonado also cited all that he believes the mayor had done for the Puerto Rican community.
De Blasio wouldn’t take reporters questions tonight, and made no mention of his scheduling conflict in his gala speech.
Earlier Friday on the Brian Lehrer show, he explained his need to be in Iowa.
“Every presidential candidate is going to be there,” Mayor de Blasio said. “It was important for me to be there, too.”
But some weren’t buying it.
“There’s going to be a primary in New York, and we’ll get you, Bill,” said Gerson Borrero, a political commentator. “We’ll get you, Buddy.”