"God's not finished with me yet and there's more work to do," de Blasio said when host and Politico reporter Mike Allen asked him about his lateness during a Wednesday morning interview. "I'm going to continue to work on being a better person."
During the wide-ranging, hourlong interview at Politico's Playbook Breakfast in Washington, D.C., de Blasio also defended his support of embattled aide Rachel Noerdlinger, dismissed the notion that the Rev. Al Sharpton has too much influence in his administration and denied that he has smoked pot since college.
De Blasio's tardiness was well-established even before he was sworn into office but it made headlines last week when the mayor was 20 minutes late for the Flight 587 memorial, angering mourners when he missed the tolling of the bell noting the exact time of the crash.
At first, de Blasio's press office blamed his tardiness on dense fog delaying the trip by boat from Gracie Mansion to Queens, but de Blasio admitted later that day that he had a "rough night" and was sluggish that morning.
Sources said de Blasio was 30 minutes late getting to the boat and that the vessels have sophisticated navigation devices that would allow them to move well even in the fog.
De Blasio said his lackadaisical punctuality isn't a concern of most city residents.
"In the end the question is not a specific event or a specific schedule, the question is what we are producing," he said. "I really believe that and that's how people are going to judge."
The mayor also denied that he stood behind Noerdlinger for too long, saying that the issues that she faced were minor.
"The substantive mistakes she made were so minor in the scheme of things, parking tickets, etc, and she was doing good work," de Blasio said.
Noerdlinger announced that she was taking an indefinite leave of absence from her position as chief of staff for First Lady Chirlane McCray following the arrest of her 17-year-old son last weekend. She was also under fire about dating a man with manslaughter and drug trafficking convictions who called police "pigs" on Facebook.
The mayor said coverage of Noerdlinger's personal life was treading on a "slippery slope."
"It's repulsive to people who look at it and says this doesn't relate to their lives," he said of the coverage of his former aide's struggles.
And following a damaging New York Times article, de Blasio said his relationship with Sharpton was "overblown."
"Here's a guy who is, I think, quite arguably the leading civil rights figure in this country right now," said de Blasio.
"I'm very comfortable with the notion of turning to him and asking his advice and treating him as someone who should be in the discussion, but that's it," the mayor added. "I'll make my own choices as with anybody else I turn to for advice or ideas."
Sharpton has been de Blasio's most important ally in the black community and his hiring of Noerdlinger was seen as a measure of Sharpton's influence in the administration.
Also, in spite of high support for de Blasio's new policy of not arresting most people found in possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, the mayor says he has not smoked the drug since college.