Hashing It Out

Bo Dietl and Paul Massey discuss Dietl’s comments, during the Queens County Conservative Party Dinner on April 27, 2017.

Three of the four Republican mayoral candidates appeared together Thursday night, with Bo Dietl seeking to address the contretemps generated by his Wednesday night comment equating two African-American women, Chirlane McCray, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, and a judge hearing Dietl’s election related lawsuit, based on their physical appearance.  Dietl has faced significant criticism in the 24 hours since making his comment.  The episode may drive voters away from him, although it anecdotally appears at this early stage Republican voters are only moderately concerned about.  More immediately, and more significantly, it may push Republican leaders away from granting Dietl his sought-after waiver to run in the Republican primary, a Wilson-Pakula.

Dietl, Michel Faulkner and Paul Massey appeared at the Queens County Conservative Party dinner in Howard Beach Thursday and Dietl sought to address the matter with both rival candidates directly and in his speech.  Dietl was quite focused on the similarities in the actual physical of the two women, viewing that similarity as explaining his comment and supporting his assertion of lacking any racial animus in his comment.  He spoke with Faulkner for several minutes, devoting part of that conversation to showing Faulkner published photos of the two women.  Faulkner was cordial towards Dietl, but appeared to hold the same view he expressed Wednesday evening.

Dietl was far more focused on Massey, who had issued a statement Thursday harshly criticizing Dietl. The two spoke privately in a hallway outside the dinner as Dietl demanded an apology.  It was an intense conversation, but without any audible anger or raised voices.  It’s unclear what Massey’s reaction was – he would only say that he intended to “keep a private conversation private.”

Dietl also addressed his comments during his speech.  Here are selected excerpts: