Tweet of the Day: Who IS Bill de Blasio (and who does he remind you of)?

I was preparing to do an original piece on the embattled New York City mayor when I happened upon the tweet that follows, which itself is a screen cap of a Facebook page. The author of that page provides a concise introduction to Bill de Blasio, noting parallels between him and another prominent politician who believes all cops are racist and, therefore, prone to “acting stupidly.”

De Blasio, who was born Warren Wilhelm, Jr., went to live with his mother’s family when he was seven, shortly after his parents divorced. In 1983, he changed his name to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm (the first half of the compound being his mother’s maiden name), then again to Bill de Blasio  (“Bill” being a family nickname growing up) in 2002, when he entered politics.

In an interview with radio host Allan Wolper in 2012, he explained:

[My dad] was an officer in the Pacific in the army [and fought] in an extraordinary number of very, very difficult, horrible battles, including Okinawa…. And I think honestly, as we now know about veterans who return, [he] was going through physically and mentally a lot…. He was an alcoholic, and my mother and father broke up very early on in the time I came along, and I was brought up by my mother’s family — that’s the bottom line — the de Blasio family.

In another radio interview, this one from 2013, de Blasio revealed that in 1979, his father, suffering from incurable cancer, shot himself in the heart. De Blasio, who was 18 at the time, was wracked by self-doubt. He told the New York Times in a 2013 interview that he felt scarred by his father’s self-destruction:

My father was a picture of courage in terms of his war service and strength, and yet in his decline, I learned primarily negative lessons. I learned what not to do.

Both his parents were investigated by the U.S. government as potential Communists or Communist sympathizers, his father because he had studied the Soviet economy at Harvard, his mother — “a blunt-spoken liberal” — “because of her participation in a union of federal workers that was rived by controversy over Communism”:

Some of her subordinates at the Office of War Information had accused her of rewriting American propaganda to be favorable to the Communist cause.

De Blasio, unsurprisingly, went on to ally himself with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who espoused Marxist views. He even there in 1988 to help distribute food and medicine to the revolutionaries.

His disdain for the police harks back to his New York City mayoral campaign, during which he told aides that he feared “the police were eavesdropping on his private conversations.”

After his election, he came under fire for calling the police commissioner after a personal friend, Pastor Bishop Orlando Findlayter, was pulled over by the police for failing to signal a left turn, then detained on outstanding warrants and for driving with a suspended license. De Blasio subsequently denied having used his political clout to get charges against Findlayter dropped, but he never explained the “actual” reason for his phone call.

Orlando Findlayter
Orlando Findlayter

It turns out Findlayter, who supported de Blasio while he campaigned, has quite the checkered past. According to the Daily News, he “helped himself to $1,000 from one of his own nonprofits and has a history of stiffing small business owners.”

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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