Politics

De Blasio And Cuomo Skip Out On 9/11 Memorial Dedication

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Andrew Kerr Investigative Reporter
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were absent from Thursday’s dedication ceremony for a 9/11 memorial for recovery workers affected by toxin exposure.
  • De Blasio’s office said the event conflicted with the mayor’s schedule, but he was spotted at a nearby gym about 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.
  • “They ought to be ashamed of themselves,” the sister of a firefighter who died from 9/11 related illnesses in 2016 told the New York Post.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were nowhere to be seen at the Thursday morning dedication for the new 9/11 Memorial Glade, a monument dedicated to recovery workers affected by toxin exposure following the 2001 terror attacks.

De Blasio’s office said the event conflicted with the mayor’s schedule, but the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate was spotted at a nearby gym about 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, the New York Post reported.

“The Mayor’s team determined they could not make the event work with his schedule,” de Blasio spokesman Freddi Goldstein told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The event was not brought to his attention and if he had known about the invitation, he would have attended.”

More than 2,000 rescue and recovery workers have died from inhaling toxic fumes following the attacks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s World Trade Center Health Program.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30: Retired FDNY firefighter and 9/11 first responder Rob Serra pauses at one of the stone monoliths following the dedication ceremony for the new 9/11 Memorial Glade at the National September 11 Memorial, May 30, 2019 in New York City. The 9/11 Memorial Glade honors the first responders who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins in the aftermath of the attacks and recovery efforts. The signature piece of the memorial are six stone monoliths that are inlaid with World Trade Center steel. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 30: Retired FDNY firefighter and 9/11 first responder Rob Serra pauses at one of the stone monoliths following the dedication ceremony for the new 9/11 Memorial Glade at the National September 11 Memorial, May 30, 2019 in New York City. The 9/11 Memorial Glade honors the first responders who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins in the aftermath of the attacks and recovery efforts. The signature piece of the memorial are six stone monoliths that are inlaid with World Trade Center steel. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Cuomo was also absent from the event, despite being listed as a guest speaker in a pre-event press release.

A Cuomo spokesman told TheDCNF the press release was issued in error, as the governor never confirmed his attendance for the event and was “always going to be in Albany dealing with issues relating to the end of the legislative session.”

“Our administration was always participating in this event as the state, under the Governor’s direction, contributed $500,000 in support of the memorial,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said. “‎The Governor’s Counsel Alphonso David and Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton were there representing the administration at the ceremony.”

A fireman who aided in rescue and recovery efforts in the aftermath of 9/11 found it “appalling” that neither Cuomo or de Blasio showed up at the event.

“De Blasio has had some major issues with the police and other emergency service unions in the city for his lack of support in the past,” the fireman, who wished to remain anonymous, told TheDCNF. “This is like another slap in the face to them.” (‘Worst Mayor Ever’: Protesters Drown Out Bill De Blasio At His Own Climate Change Event)

Maureen Fritz, whose firefighter brother William Gormely died in 2016 due to illnesses related to 9/11, told the New York Post it was “unacceptable” that Cuomo and de Blasio skipped out on the memorial dedication.

“They ought to be ashamed of themselves,” Fritz said. “They should not be reelected at all because that’s not how you treat your citizens, your first responders.”

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart attended the hour-long dedication ceremony, which was held on the 17th anniversary of the end of 9/11 rescue-and-recovery efforts.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30: Comedian and 9/11 healthcare advocate Jon Stewart greets attendees at the dedication ceremony for the new 9/11 Memorial Glade at the National September 11 Memorial, May 30, 2019 in New York City. The 9/11 Memorial Glade honors the first responders who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins in the aftermath of the attacks and recovery efforts. The signature piece of the memorial are six stone monoliths that are inlaid with World Trade Center steel. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 30: Comedian and 9/11 healthcare advocate Jon Stewart greets attendees at the dedication ceremony for the new 9/11 Memorial Glade at the National September 11 Memorial, May 30, 2019 in New York City. The 9/11 Memorial Glade honors the first responders who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins in the aftermath of the attacks and recovery efforts. The signature piece of the memorial are six stone monoliths that are inlaid with World Trade Center steel. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Today we are dedicating this memorial glade to all who became sick or died because of causes related to the attacks and to all the men and women who took part in the rescue and recovery effort that ended on this date 17 years ago,” Bloomberg said. “We have a duty to care for those who need it and to honor the memory of those who died. The memorial glade helps us to fulfill that duty.”

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