Former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio soon will be shipping up to Boston, where he hopes to help mold “the generation of leaders and activists coming up.”
De Blasio intends to offer up the “lessons I’ve learned through decades of public service,” he said in a tweet Wednesday in which he shared a New York Times story about his plan to be a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University this fall.
“My key message to them: we CAN make bold progressive change,” he said. “I know because I’ve lived it.”
I am VERY optimistic about the generation of leaders and activists coming up. It will be a privilege to offer lessons I’ve learned through decades of public service. My key message to them: we CAN make bold progressive change. I know because I’ve lived it. https://t.co/AtbKY9CaZd
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) August 24, 2022
The Times’ Jeffery Mays reported that while de Blasio, who left City Hall last year after two terms, “flirted with running for governor and then for Congress,” he has chosen instead to take a new role at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
De Blasio grew up in Massachusetts and is known to New Yorkers as a fan of the Boston Red Sox, but he said he won’t be leaving the Big Apple, according to the report.
“During his time as a fellow, Mr. de Blasio will focus on issues such as early childhood education and leading through a pandemic, which the former mayor considers the ‘bookends’ of his eight years in office,” Mays wrote.
At the school of public health, de Blasio is set to instruct an eight-week class on “leadership focused on navigating major public health challenges,” the report said.
Harvard’s choice of the former mayor to instruct a course in this area might come as a surprise.
In spite of what many described as an overreaching pandemic response — which included strict lockdowns, arrest threats, traveler checkpoints and widespread vaccine mandates — New York was ravaged by COVID-19 during his tenure.
A survey in July 2020 found the city was the worst in the nation among those studied in both cases and deaths per 100,000 residents, according to CityMayors.com.
That didn’t deter Harvard, which said in its bio for de Blasio that he “led NYC through the Covid-19 pandemic, turning what was once a global epicenter into the safest city in the country.”
In his interview with the Times, the former mayor said, “It’s exciting to spend time with really talented young people who are looking forward to going into public service. I hope I can inspire them, but also give them some real life understanding of what’s ahead and how to be effective.”
De Blasio’s last move in politics was running for the realigned 10th Congressional District seat in New York. Trailing far behind other Democrats in an Emerson College Polling/Pix11/The Hill primary poll, he dropped out of the race on July 19.
“Driving DeBlasio’s low support in the primary may be his job approval among his former constituents: 21% of 10th District Democratic voters approve of the job that DeBlasio did as Mayor of New York City, while 64% disapprove,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a news release in July.
“The high share of undecided voters are unlikely to turn towards DeBlasio as 69% of undecided voters disapprove of the job he did as their mayor,” Kimball said.
Some on social media took a dim view of Harvard’s decision to take on the left-wing leader.
“So comrade Bill de Blasio destroys NYC and is awarded a teaching gig at @Harvard? Now you know why people are losing faith in the country’s institutions,” Charles Gasparino of Fox Business tweeted Wednesday.
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) August 24, 2022
Business and political commentator John Burnett wrote, “I want to see #DeBlasio’s lesson plans on mental health funding and accountability, ethical pay-to-play standards, and public safety.”
I want to see #DeBlasio‘s lesson plans on mental health funding and accountability, ethical pay-to-play standards, and public safety. Ex-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio heads to Harvard as teaching fellow https://t.co/nbmgCxo32r #Harvard @ABC7NY #NYC #NewYork
— John Burnett (@IamJohnBurnett) August 24, 2022
De Blasio’s Harvard bio touts his efforts to fight the “climate crisis” through the “NYC Green New Deal” and his work on Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senatorial campaign. It doesn’t mention his failed bid for the 10th Congressional District seat.
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