Borough President Eric Adams has stuck his foot in it yet again, this time after accusing Midwesterners of “hijacking” apartments and demanding they return to wherever they came from.
“Go back to Iowa, go back to Ohio, New York belongs to New Yorkers,” Adams said at a Martin Luther King day event at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem.
“You were here before others came, who decided they wanted to be part of the city, those hijacking your apartments and displacing your living arrangements,” Adams said.
While Adams’ comments drew applause from the crowd, they also spared outrage on Twitter, with some accusing the mayoral wannabe of adopting a Trumpian rhetoric of shunning outsiders.
“Cool potential mayor of a city that has historically refused people from other places,” wrote Twitter use Travis R. Eby. “There is no context where this sentiment is okay.”
Cool potential mayor of a city that has historically refused people from other places 👎
there is no context where this sentiment is ok https://t.co/sunMQt74dQ
— Travis R. Eby (@travis_robert) January 20, 2020
The beep immediately walked his comments back, saying he was only criticizing newcomers who make no effort to connect with their adopted communities.
“Anyone can be a New Yorker, but not everyone comes to our city with the spirit of being part of our city,” he tweeted.
But it wasn’t all bad for the beep, and some Twitter users flocked to defend his comments.
“I wholeheartedly agree with you. Almost all of the responses in this thread are gentrifiers that don’t have the slightest idea of the harassment lifelong residents have to go through forced to leave their house to make way for a condominium with tax breaks,” tweeted Fabio Bardales.
I whole heartedly agree with you. Almost all of the responses in this thread are gentrifiers that don’t have the slightest idea of the harassment lifelong residents have to go through forced to leave their house to make way for a condominium with tax breaks
— Fabio Bardales (@fabiobardales) January 20, 2020
The tirade is only the latest example of the beep drawing fire for his off-the-cuff speeches. At a Dec. 17 ribbon-cutting for an LGBT friendly affordable housing development in Brooklyn, Adams assailed the development as exclusionary to local public housing residents.
“I can’t celebrate a building that is not inclusive,” he said in comments that were caught on tape. “I don’t want to see beautiful floors like this and lead paint over there, I don’t want to see rodents over there and comfort over here.”
And in Augus, Adams came under fire for comparing a Twitter user to the KKK after the critic called out the beep for his weak stance on placard parking abuse.
In the wake of his most recent gaffe, one Twitter use questioned the electability of a mayoral candidate who seems determined to court needless controversy.
“I’ve been off Twitter all day and now than I’m back, I gotta ask: what the f–k is wrong with Eric Adams? Dude keeps picking fights that don’t need to be picked,” tweeted user Rich Mintz. “He knows that to be mayor you need to attract *more* voters, right?”
Adams has historically banged the drum for development in the borough, and as recently as last week was one of the few elected officials to show his face at the Real Estate Board of New York gala, known as the biggest event of the year for the real estate industry, which many politicians have shunned in recent years and sworn to reject campaign donations from, including fellow mayoral candidate Corey Johnson.
It was a day to remember the legacy of MLK at @NationalAction. Much of the rhetoric focused on displacement and gentrification. From sushi to bike lanes and telling others to go back to the place they're from. Here is @BPEricAdams's comment. We'll have more on @InsideCityHall: pic.twitter.com/f7Y8jltJbO
— Gloria Pazmino (@GloriaPazmino) January 20, 2020