Mayor Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa were particularly scathing about the refugee crisis on Tuesday – when Hizzoner called the Guardian Angel a “sucker” and his opponent taunted him as “the braggart without a plan”.
“Every time you start a question with the name ‘Curtis Sliwa,’ that in itself means it would do me and other New Yorkers no favors to even answer it,” Adams sneered when asked about Sliwa’s views was to accommodate migrants on the premises Gracie mansion.
“If you look up the word ‘buffoon’ in the dictionary, tell me what picture comes up,” the mayor said during a press conference at City Hall.
The 69-year-old Guardian Angels founder was among five protesters on Sunday when violent clashes broke out during a rally over asylum seeker shelters outside the mayor’s residence on the Upper East Side.
Sliwa, the former Republican candidate for mayor, responded when reached by phone, calling the mayor a “general in retreat” and claiming he had given in to Governor Hochul and President Biden at every turn.
“I call him: ‘The braggart without a plan,'” snapped Sliwa.
“To the extent that he spends our tax money, we slide into bankruptcy,” joked Sliwa.
New York City is expected to spend more than $12 billion over the next three years to deal with the refugee crisis that has caused more than 100,000 asylum seekers to flow through New York since the spring of 2022.
Sliwa has been one of the most vocal opponents of migrant housing in New York City — particularly on Staten Island, where protests erupted last week at the closed St. John Villa Academy, which has been converted into a 300-bed makeshift shelter.
Republican lawmakers, led by District President Vito Fossella, have sued the closure of sites at the former Catholic school, claiming the 24-hour generators powering outdoor showers were a “nuisance”.
The lawsuit initially brought plaintiffs a stroke of luck as a judge issued an injunction, but it was quickly dismissed by a higher court on Friday.
According to City Hall, less than 2% of the 59,000 asylum seekers under the city’s custody are being housed on Staten Island.