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‘Must be nice’: De Blasio sparks outrage when he says pandemic taught him value of sleep

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New York City Mayor de Blasio stated on Wednesday that one of the main lessons he’s taken from the pandemic that’s killed more than 24,000 residents, closed down countless small businesses, and left his budget in tatters is the importance of sleep. Many of his critics accused de Blasio immediately of being asleep on the job since day one. He was nearly 30 minutes late to his briefing.

His remarks were in response to a question from a reporter about what he has learned about himself and how he has led the city through the 10 months of turmoil following the outbreak of COVID-19.

“One thing, I’ll tell you that I’ve learned — this is something that [first lady] Chirlane [McCray] used to lecture me on all the time — that sleep really matters,” de Blasio said during his daily virtual press briefing from City Hall. “I’ve not been someone who’s traditionally gotten enough sleep.”

“In the beginning of this crisis, it was crazy for all of us; I mean we were working every single day, very long hours, and no one was getting enough sleep,” he continued. “I really saw that it had an impact, I mean, it makes it harder to fully think through things and, obviously, we all get more emotional when we’re tired. So, I learned the value of sleep for sure.”

De Blasio also thanked city employees who labored through the pandemic to keep the five boroughs running, spoke about the frustrations that came with rapidly changing guidance from the federal government about the disease, and his optimism for how the arrival of vaccines may allow the city to begin a slow recovery in 2021.

A City Hall spokeswoman later hotly defended his remarks, saying: “After such a hellish year, all New Yorkers deserve to get some sleep.”

At his Wednesday press conference, de Blasio reflected on how he communicated to the public about the virus, and how his job “requires so much detail work.”

“In the beginning, I was trying to communicate, I now realize I wish I had been able to communicate this better … this job requires so much detail work,” the mayor said.

De Blasio has infamously been late throughout his tenure frustrating his staff since he first came to office in 2014. It has made him the subject of ridicule.

Just days after taking office, on Jan. 14, 2014, his staffers were already shopping for an alarm clock to try to get de Blasio out of bed.

Staffers even included potential models of clocks in their communications, under the subject line “Visible Clock For Mayor.” A spokesman later confirmed that one was purchased.

That did not change de Blasio’s penchant for tardiness.

De Blasio arrived so late to the annual memorial for those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 that he missed the tolling of the bell and the moment of silence.

His staff initially blamed fog for delaying the police boat the mayor was riding to the event, but the mayor eventually backtracked and chalked up the lateness to “a very rough night” and waking up “sluggish.”

The New York Post bought and gave him an alarm clock afterward. It still made no difference.

De Blasio is notorious for rarely arriving at City Hall before 10 a.m. even when he is running on time.

He regularly starts his day late and takes off frequently to work out at the YMCA’s Prospect Park facility in Brooklyn, which is miles from the mayoral residence.

Those workouts which were often limited to exercising on stationary bikes while watching cable television often left the mayor so exhausted that he began taking midday naps in his downtown offices.

De Blasio is also known for taking midday strolls through Prospect Park along with other scenic areas during the pandemic and catnaps between meetings.

In 2019, de Blasio showed up almost an hour late for a live television interview on WPIX Channel 11’s morning show, even though the station’s studios are just a short drive from Gracie Mansion.

He told one of the show’s anchors, Dan Mannarino, that he set his alarm clock for the wrong time.

Mannarino graciously shouldered a bit of the blame as the interview wrapped up, telling de Blasio, “We dragged you out of bed early, I appreciate it.”

“Thank you, man,” de Blasio replied.

The mayor sparked the outrage of many online who saw his comments as “out of touch” and “tone deaf.”

 

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