Eric Adams hit the airwaves Wednesday to discuss how his Democratic primary win, which is almost certain to propel him into Gracie Mansion, has larger implications for national politics around policing, violence prevention and public safety as his chief rivals in the race conceded.
“We have demonized public protection in this city and this country because we have too many abusive officers who are allowed to stay in our agency," he said during an interview with CBS. "But at the same time, we have ignored the problems that fed violence in our country. And I say we need to stop doing that. New York is going to show America how to run cities."
Adams again touted his record as both a former police officer and an outspoken critic of the department while he was employed there. He continued to press his campaign message that "public safety equals prosperity" as his biggest rivals, Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley conceded following Tuesday night's results.
Adams argued Wednesday that he is uniquely positioned to balance reform and safety in a way that could be a model for other metro areas suffering from increased shootings and concentrated, generational poverty.
"I know how we can turn around not only New York, but America," he said. "We’re in a terrible place."
The Brooklyn borough president and former NYPD captain said he would like to sit down with mayors past and present across the country to discuss a new urban agenda for the Democratic Party. And he hoped that some of the political infighting could be quelled by his ascension to the mayoralty.
"We have reached a point where we are allowing the dialogue to get in the way of moving us in the right direction," he said in a separate interview on CNN.
In addition to national concerns, Adams addressed local issues as well, indicating for example that the nighttime revelry in Washington Square Park, where he said drug use occurs in the open, cannot continue. He also touched on the specter of NYPD officers being more reluctant to go on patrol because of reform measures at the city and state level.
"I say to my officers: If you don't want to be on the streets anymore, then get off my streets," he said. "I don't want to hear someone say because they don't like what government is doing, they are not going to protect my public."
Adams said that he has spoken with all of his competitors in the primary and that he would soon begin poring over resumes for his administration-in-waiting.
Some of those primary foes, along with Adams himself, had taken legal action after the city's Board of Elections botched the initial ranked-choice tally last week and threw the race into chaos. On Wednesday, Adams' team said in a statement it had withdrawn its suit, which was designed to preserve the right to litigate once the final count is certified.
"The election is clear and the people have spoken, and so there is no longer a need to preserve our legal right to a court-supervised review,” the campaign said in a statement.
Former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who came within 8,400 votes of defeating Adams, congratulated him as she conceded Wednesday outside the Women’s Rights Pioneers statue in Central Park.
“When I began this race after 14 years at the helm of some of the city’s largest and most complex agencies, I was told I should set my sights lower, that I should set my sights on deputy mayor," she said.
“With nearly 400,000 votes to show it, I am proof that outsiders without the backing of the political establishment, and determined women, are a force to be reckoned with. We proved that you can compete, even without decades of being in the political machine, with no help from powerful interests, political favors or big donors — just hard work, dedication and strong grassroots support.”
Garcia gave a shout-out to her fellow female candidates — Maya Wiley, Dianne Morales and Joycelyn Taylor — for hard-run races.
“There is much to celebrate in this election. We will have a female majority on the City Council, and I extend my congratulations to all of them," she said. "While women have a seat at the table, we have yet to sit at the head of it, but I know that day is coming soon and I encourage my fellow women to run for office. I will support you, I’ll stand with you, and I will help you in any way I can.”
Wiley also conceded defeat during a press conference in Manhattan Wednesday, congratulating Adams on his victory.
“I stand here today first to congratulate Eric Adams,” Wiley said, vowing to keep pressing the issues she campaigned on. “This is not a movement this is a mission … This is gonna continue beyond today.”
Téa Kvetenadze contributed reporting.
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