New York Mayor Bill de Blasio came under pressure over the weekend for delivering an unannounced speech behind closed doors at an AIPAC gala in Manhattan.
According to The New York Times, the Thursday night speech wasn’t listed on de Blasio’s schedule, and a reporter who tried to enter the closed-door event was removed by security staff.
De Blasio’s “surprise” speech was only uncovered by a Capital New York reporter who sneaked in and recorded part of it.
He drew sharp criticism from the media after it came to light, especially as he had called for greater transparency at City Hall during his campaign, the New York Times reported.
According to the mayor’s platform, he pledged to “increase transparency with a series of reforms” and “proactively post online information.”
In response to the criticism, de Blasio admitted that he and his administration owe the public “a clear understanding of what I am and what I’m doing,” but added that he would not make information public “in any case.”
However, he pledged to be “as transparent as possible.”
At the Thursday gala, de Blasio said defending Israel was part of his “job description,” and urged Washington to boycott Saudi Airlines for denying Israeli citizens the right to fly with them.
De Blasio, who succeeded Michael Bloomberg less than a month ago, said his belief in Israel and the United States’ obligation to defend it not only had “a philosophical grounding,” but was also “something that is elemental to being an American.”
“You have a friend and an ally at City Hall,” de Blasio concluded. “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC.”
De Blasio, a Democrat, was sworn in as mayor of New York earlier in January, formally becoming the city’s 109th mayor while pledging to pursue a sweeping liberal agenda.