New York City Republican mayoral candidate Fernando Mateo said on Monday that the exodus of New Yorkers to South Florida is not due to the coronavirus but the lack of leadership shown by Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio.
“The biggest pandemic we have is Bill de Blasio’s, the worst we have suffered,” stressed Mateo, of Dominican origin.
Mateo, who is the first Latino Republican to run for mayor of the city, also criticized New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, arguing he should “be in jail for covering up the atrocity that happened in the nursing homes” in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic.
Cuomo has come under heavy criticism after it was discovered that his administration counted only half of the deaths in nursing homes and the other half were recorded as people dying in hospitals.
Mateo, who for his aspirations must first emerge victorious in the New York Republican Party primary process to be held in June, held a meeting on Monday with more than a dozen large and small New York businessmen who have moved to Miami.
The businessman-turned-politician met in Miami’s Design District with representatives of hedge funds, real estate developers, as well as barbers, pizzeria owners, and public relations firms, with whom he shared “the same pain”.
“The only one who understands the pain of the small businessman is called Fernando Mateo, because I am one of them,” said the mayoral hopeful, whom in 1994 the New York Times called “one of the five most influential people in the country.”
He boasted not only of being the only pre-candidate to visit Miami, “the city with the most tenants” in New York, but also of not being a politician or liking politics, and for this reason, during his visit to Miami, which began last Friday, he did not hold meetings with elected officials.
Businessman and Republican
Born in the Dominican Republic, but immigrated with his family to New York when he was two years old, the Hispanic began his commercial career with a carpet business when he was a teenager and is currently involved in the transportation and hospitality sectors, among other investments.
Elected president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers in 1998, Mateo has also been a spokesman for Hispanics Across America.
He points out that Hispanics make up one-third of the Big Apple’s inhabitants and that it is time to understand that in this city “there are other communities that need the same opportunities that are given to whites and African-Americans.”
Mateo, a Republican for 30 years but who has worked on an ad hoc basis with Democrats in the past, has received his party’s support in three of New York’s five counties.
“My polls are the pulse of the people for change and corruption and de Blasio,” he responds when asked about his chances of getting elected.