Republican mayoral candidates Curtis Sliwa and Fernando Mateo engaged in a verbal mudslinging contest during the first primary debate on March 31, with each one puffing out his chest in an attempt to prove who was more conservative.
WABC Radio hosted the debate at its 3rd Avenue studios in Midtown in order to give voters a better understanding of who exactly the two mayoral contenders are and what plans they would instill if either of the long-shot candidates were to be elected. According to CEO of Red Apple Group John Catsimatidis, the station will be hosting both Republican and Democrat debates in the future.
“We believe in letting the people know what is going on in our city. I think this is going to be one of the most important elections of the century,” Catsimatidis said prior to the debate commencing.
The featured guests included Sliwa, the outspoken founder of the Guardian Angels; and Fernando Mateo, head spokesman for Hispanics Across America, the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and United Bodegas of America.
They took to their respective podiums and began trading jabs right from the start. The pair repeatedly questioned one another’s alliance to their chosen party.
Sliwa hurled accusations that Mateo illegally raised funds for the current Mayor, dubbing the first Latino to run for the Republican party “a de Blasio Republican.”
Mateo did his best impression of a recent former Republican president by continually yelling “Wrong!” into the microphone as Sliwa proceeded to bash his character.
Mateo persisted to evoke Trumpisms by labeling Sliwa’s claims as “fake news” and denouncing the Guardian Angel for not voting for Trump in 2016. He also followed this up by stating: “I have enough dirt to cover your body 18 feet over.”
The back-and-forth arguments proceeded to run over the time allotted to the candidates, causing the moderator to frequently lose control during the spectacle.
Although topics they agreed upon were few and far between, both men claimed they would remove NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea from power, announced that they believe former President Trump should run again in 2024, and stated that the country did not need a third round of stimulus checks.
However, while Sliwa is for the legalization of marijuana and Mateo is against it.