NEW YORK — Fresh off his win of the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, Eric Adams went to Washington Monday to meet with President Joe Biden.
The meeting between Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Biden was part of a conversation with a few local leaders, including a lieutenant from the Newark Police Department. Curtis Sliwa — Adams’ main opponent in the race for mayor — said unless he is willing to say more police officers should be hired, the meeting is just politics.
“We recognize that we have to come together to fulfill the first pledge of Democracy and keep people safe,” Biden said to begin the listening session with local leaders.
Upon leaving the meeting, Adams praised Biden’s nuanced approach to combating the recent rise in gun violence.
“We spend too much time looking at the role in the police play,” Adams said. “This president is making it clear we are going to redefine the ecosystem of public safety and that includes identifying the roles of police, schools, families, employment, resources, this is where we need to go as a country.”
Adams just last week clinched the nomination for mayor after a campaign that was dominated by public safety. Shooting incidents in the city are up by more than 100% since 2019 before the pandemic.
Like Biden, the current Brooklyn Borough President rejects the idea of defunding the police, but Adams stopped short of saying he would beef up the NYPD. The president has suggested cities could use stimulus dollars on more cops.
“Do we need to hire more police officer as people suggest over and over again? No.” Adams said. “It means using dollars correctly.”
Back in New York, Adams’ general election adversary Curtis Sliwa dismissed the meeting a partisan affair between Democrats. Sliwa lamented that as the long time leader of the Guardian Angels, and a gun violence victim himself, he should have been invited.
“This is not a coronation,” he said.
Sliwa also took aim at New York State’s bail reform law as causing a rise in crime. He said as mayor, he would absolutely hire more police officers with stimulus money.
“Would have been a perfect opportunity for our mayor to have accepted the money that was being repurposed from COVID-19,” Sliwa said of current city leadership also not committing to hiring more officers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was not offended by the lack of an invitation to the White House, praising Adams many years as a police captain. De Blasio said he is already working to deepen ties with federal authorities to get after guns and prevent gun trafficking.
In late June, the Justice Department announced plans to launch a task force to New York City to help combat gun violence.