The two men running to become New York City's next mayor faced off in their first debate Wednesday night, a relatively calm affair after some mild drama before the event.
Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the 1970s-era Guardian Angels anti-crime patrol, told NBC New York as he was heading into the debate that his opponent, Eric Adams, called him the "Donald Trump of New York," which he said showed a lack of civility.
Sliwa also said that the Democratic nominee and mayoral frontrunner refused to shake his hand when the two were almost right next to each other earlier in the day in East Harlem.
Once the debate began, the two men offered starkly different visions about how to lead the nation's largest city out of the pandemic, improve public safety and gird the city of 8.8 million people for more powerful storms driven by climate change.
Democratic Mayoral candidate Eric Adams says that he supports Mayor de Blasio's vaccine mandates for city workers but would have gone about the implementation differently.
The first topic was the city's new vaccine mandate, with Adams saying that Mayor Bill de Blasio was correct to mandate vaccination for city workers. He went on to say that as mayor he would work with union leaders and members to come to an agreement regarding the mandate. Adams also said he would uphold the decision to bench any NYPD officers or FDNY firefighters who refused to get vaccinated.
Sliwa disagreed, saying that the city doesn't "have enough police officers as it is." He also touted multiple times that he would hire thousands of more police officers in an effort to address public safety, using a new property tax on Madison Square Garden, Columbia University and NYU to fund the 3,000 more cops — a plan he said Andrew Yang championed, and was done in the 1990s by then-mayor David Dinkins.
Republican Mayoral Candidate Curtis Sliwa is against the current mayor's vaccine mandate for city workers, including NYPD and FDNY.
Adams retorted that Sliwa "made up crimes so he could be likeable," referring to an incident in which Sliwa lied about his own kidnapping in the 1980s. The candidate then hailed his own public safety initiative, where he said he will support the police — but only to a point.
"Public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity," Adams said. "I will have the backs of my police officers, but that covenant if you decide to undermine the nobility of public protection, you will not serve in my department. We're not going to see disorder in my city."
Democratic candidate Eric Adams and Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa clash over their opinions on vaccine mandates.
The two then had somewhat similar notions of bringing back a toned-down version of the controversial police tactic known as stop-and-frisk, with Sliwa supporting its use in areas with more gang activity. Adams said he has called for "appropriate police tactics," with a new anti-gun unit to focus on gangs and guns using "precision policing, but also precision resources."
Democratic Mayoral candidate Eric Adams says there will be no disorder in the city should he be elected.
There weren't many heated moments during the debate, but one of the livelier moments came as Sliwa attacked Adams for saying he would carry a gun, saying that sends the message of "do as I say, not as I do."
Adams chose not address the barb, a strategy he has used throughout the campaign and continued for most of the debate, repeatedly dismissing Sliwa while refusing the opportunity to respond to an extended, rapid-fire critique from his opponent.Since NBC is being selfish, here's the whole thing.