Mayor Bill de Blasio defended himself against a criminal probe into his campaign fundraising practices Monday morning with help from Hot 97 radio hosts who agreed he is being unfairly singled out.
He separately made light of being the butt of a joke by President Barack Obama at last weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
“Let’s get right to it: Obama cooked you,” host Ebro Darden said.
“It is an honor to be cooked by the leader of the free world,” de Blasio responded.
Obama had poked fun at a controversial joke involving “C.P.T.” that was made by de Blasio with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the Inner Circle satire event last month. The racially charged phrase recalls a stereotype that black people are often late.
Obama said Saturday night, “I was running on C.P.T., which stands for jokes that white people should not make.”
De Blasio also was asked on the hip-hop radio station Monday about an investigation into fundraising he and his associates had done in 2014 for Democratic candidates for the GOP-controlled state Senate. Some of de Blasio’s top aides have been subpoenaed and prosecutors are probing whether the team skirted laws by funneling contributions through county committees.
“The overall reality is we hold ourselves to a very high standard,” de Blasio said.
“It is perfectly legal and it’s been done for years and years,” including by his predecessors, the mayor said. He noted, however, that he believes private money should generally be taken out of the campaign finance system.
“Does this system make any sense in general? … No, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Darden and others on “Ebro in the Morning” underscored the work de Blasio has done for public housing and after-school programs and accused tabloids that have covered the probe for just wanting to sell papers.