Delivering his first State of the City address and presenting his budget should have made this week a good one for Mayor Bill de Blasio, but instead, he was buried in criticism for keeping schools open and calling the police on behalf of a friend. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off the week surrounded by his strongest supporters. By Friday, he was shoveling himself out of a snowy mess with only his wife by his side.
"We would definitely like to deal with something other than the weather. I guarantee you that," the mayor said Friday.
The mayor faced a blizzard of criticism over his decision to keep schools open Thursday. He sounded tired of defending the call.
"A lot of kids went to school and learned something," he said.
Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña also put him in a difficult spot. She tried to diminish the snowy conditions on Thursday by declaring that it was a beautiful day outside.
"She made a comment. It was an off-handed comment, but her point was very fair, that the weather was already starting to change," de Blasio said.
"Probably not the best choice of words, but at the moment, it was heartfelt," Fariña said.
The weather, though, was hardly the mayor's only problem. His signature campaign initiative, a tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-kindergarten, is getting ripped apart in Albany.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is now actively campaigning against it. In a radio interview, he argued that it would pit upstate against downstate because the tax hike would only help New York City children. The governor wants a statewide program.
"I know the tale of two cities. The answer to the tale of two cities is not to create two states," Cuomo said. "The answer to inequity and inequality is not to create more inequity and inequality."
De Blasio promised New Yorkers during the campaign that he would end what he called a tale of two cities in New York.
The mayor also saw his other policy plans and budget proposal overshadowed by news that he called the police to inquire about a friend and campaign supporter who had been arrested.
He refused to answer questions about it after his budget presentation on Wednesday, letting the story drag on for another day without a direct response from the mayor.