If there was any doubt before, the gloves are now officially off in the 2021 race to be the next mayor of New York City.
Democratic nominee Eric Adams on Tuesday called Republican rival Curtis Sliwa a “racist” — and accused the Guardian Angels founder of turning the general election to succeed a term-limited Bill de Blasio into a “circus.”
During an interview on WNYC radio, the Brooklyn borough president offered some of his harshest words yet for his Nov. 2 opponent, saying the GOP contender “has been a leading voice of being a racist.”
“I dedicated my life as a police officer for 22 years [to] fighting against the systemic racism that exists, and just really how we perceive everyday New Yorkers. And so, it’s difficult for Curtis to talk about systemic racism, because he has been a leading voice of being a racist,” the former NYPD captain said on “The Brian Lehrer Show,” when asked about his perspective on nine FDNY members who were suspended for sending racist messages.
“It’s hard for him to address something that’s systemic, and I’m not afraid to point out where systemic racism exists.”
His answer came after Lehrer noted that Sliwa on the same radio show a day earlier characterized the FDNY members as a few bad apples rather than part of a pattern of bigotry.
In response to Adams’ comments, Sliwa fired back with his own allegation Tuesday, saying that Adams has a habit of accusing people with whom he has a difference in opinion of being racist.
“This is always his fallback position when he has a disagreement with you: he calls people racist,” Sliwa told The Post. “This is all part of the tradition of Eric Adams. If you disagree with Eric Adams, you’re a racist.
“When his back is against the wall, he’s always calling his adversaries racist.”
Sliwa cited Adams in January 2020 metaphorically declaring that gentrifiers should “go back” to Iowa and Ohio, as well as the Democrat’s harsh criticism of former primary opponents Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia joining forces on the crowded Democratic primary campaign trail on Juneteenth, days before voters went to the polls.
“I’m just going to join the club,” Sliwa said. “When Eric Adams doesn’t like you, he calls you a racist.”
Adams in his interview also accused Sliwa of making a mockery of the election.
“We’re going to have to endure the antics of a person that thinks that this is a circus for the next four weeks, and I’m going to tolerate it because that’s the process, but can we take Curtis seriously based on his history in the city?” Adams said on the radio program, referencing Sliwa admitting to staging crimes and falsely claiming he was kidnapped.
“I’m turning the election into a circus by being in the streets, in the subways — something he’s not?” Sliwa shot back. “He’s spent most of his time of late getting wined and dined and pocket-lined by the elite, the wealthy and the rich.”
“Eric Adams has to understand: there is an election going on,” he went on. “There is a democracy. He is not the mashiach of the Democratic Party, he is not the savior of the city.”
Adams is the odds-on favorite to win the race against Sliwa.
Along with Democrats’ voter registration advantage in the five boroughs, Adams has raised far more money for the election than Sliwa.
Fundraising figures released last week revealed that Adams raised $2.4 million for his campaign between Aug. 24 and Sept. 27, concluding the reporting period with about $7.7 million on hand. Sliwa raised $200,000 during the same time period, and has just $1.2 million in his campaign account.
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