The shamelessness of Mayor De Blasio and his wife in foregrounding their children to score points is stunning. There appears to be no limit to how far this scheming couple is willing to push their kids into the spotlight in order to gain political leverage.
This week Chirlane McCray announced a broad initiative to “create a roadmap” in order to “outline a plan” to provide better mental health resources to New Yorkers. The initial roadmap will be rolled out this summer, and then the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will work with city agencies to “pursue its findings.”
Then, just as her husband used their son Dante as a prop when he spoke in December about the dangers that the police pose to young black males, McCray trotted out their daughter Chiara to be the city's poster child for recovery from depression and substance abuse.
“I’m proud to say that Chiara is kicking butt at recovery—and she’s working really hard to help other young people dealing with similar challenges,” pronounced McCray. All well and good for Chiara, though one wonders how eager this teenager actually is to have updates on her nascent recovery from alcohol and drug addiction used as part of her parents’ ceaseless public relations campaigns.
It was one thing for the de Blasio machine to release news of Chiara’s addiction in late 2013 to get ahead of media reports, but creating a professionally filmed commercial of the announcement was in bad taste. Then with (presumably) ghostwritten articles on xoJane.com, and now being used as an element of her mother’s speech, one wonders at what point the de Blasios will let up. When she relapses, God forbid?
The most repulsive part of McCray’s speech, however, was when she insinuated that it was a financial struggle for her and then-Public Advocate de Blasio to pay for their daughter’s treatment: “It was quite a task for us to find affordable mental health professionals and a program to meet Chiara’s needs. The needs of our daughter, who is no longer a child and not quite an adult. A young woman who has become an edgy biracial activist.”
Chiara being biracial is irrelevant to anything outside of a de Blasio campaign mailer, though at this point it is no surprise that the family would interject their demographic status anywhere. But it is outrageous that McCray would pretend that it was a financial struggle for them to get help for their daughter. Leaving aside the fact that the family income was likely close to $300,000 at the time of Chiara’s crisis, Public Advocate de Blasio, as a city employee, had access to excellent health insurance that covers unlimited inpatient rehab at nominal cost...and that’s with the HMO option. Even in the unlikely case that the de Blasios chose one of the cheapest plans offered by the city, Chiara was still eligible for at least 30 days of rehab, and seven days of detox.
One supposes that, at their income and debt maintenance level, it could have been a stretch for the de Blasio family cash flow to pay for 90 days of luxe care at Promises Malibu, or some other spa facility catering to the elite. But the recovery industry is mature enough now that it offers price points for everyone, and insurance companies know that it is cheaper to pay for a few months in rehab than it is to cover the aftermath of drunken car crashes. In her effort to appear conversant with middle-class financial woes, Chirlane McCray comes off as clueless as Hillary Clinton did when she claimed that she and President Clinton were "flat broke" on leaving the White House.
None of this is too shocking, of course. Bill de Blasio has been using his wife and children as political props for years. Aside from perhaps Sarah Palin, has any American politician since Nixon’s Checkers speech been as unctuous and ingratiating, so stupidly self-righteous in regard to his family, as Bill de Blasio? Seriously: if you can think of someone, let me know.