NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Bill de Blasio's re-election campaign on Monday attacked Nicole Malliotakis for her "refusal to condemn white supremacy" after she initially declined to comment on President Donald Trump's controversial weekend statement in which he failed to explicitly condemn a neo-Nazi rally in Virginia.
Malliotakis, who did call the rally "disgusting," first told New York True on Sunday that she "didn't see the whole statement" the president made and didn't want to comment. She told reporters Monday "I'm not his spokesman" but said Trump "should have called them out."
"I'm not his spokesman," Nicole Malliotakis, asked about comments on white supremacy from @realDonaldTrump, for whom she voted— Mara Gay (@MaraGay) August 14, 2017
"Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis' refusal to condemn white supremacy makes her unfit to lead the greatest city in the world," said Monica Klein, de Blasio's campaign communication director, in a statement Monday.
"Her unacceptable refusal to acknowledge Donald Trump's horrible statement is the latest in a line of far right-wing positions that are completely at odds with the values of inclusiveness and diversity we cherish in our city of immigrants."
Malliotakis' campaign spokesman Rob Ryan called the statement "truly over the top" and said the assemblywoman has "repeatedly condemned violence and hatred."
"De Blasio's allegations just prove how desperate his campaign is," Ryan said. "Nicole Malliotakis is calling him out on issue after issue and this is how he responds because he simply doesn't have another answer."
Since Malliotakis became the dominant Republican candidate to face off against de Blasio, his campaign has repeatedly tried to paint her as a Trump clone. In July, the campaign emailed a picture of her with Trump from 2013 in a fundraising appeal to supporters.
The tactic might not have worked for de Blasio as he was outraised by both Malliotakis and Democratic challenger Sal Albanese in the latest filing released Friday, according to the Campaign Finance Board.
De Blasio only raised $61,262 from July 17 to Aug. 7, while Malliotakis pulled in $83,215 and Albanese $67,076.
The incumbent mayor still crushes both in total amount raised with $4.8 million in his war chest, compared to $427,646 for Malliotakis and $191,200 for Albanese, Politico New York reported.
Malliotakis also came under fire from progressive groups over the weekend who called on her to return a $4,900 donation from hedge-fund investor Dan Loeb after he wrote a now-deleted racist Facebook post.
Trump drew fire from both parties over the weekend after he blamed the violence at a white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that lead to the death of a counter protester "on many sides" and didn't explicitly call out far-right extremist groups, the New York Times reported.
Days later, Trump took a harsher tone against the groups in a statement from Washington, D.C. and said they "strike at the very core of America."
"Racism is evil," Trump said Monday. "Those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
One of Malliotakis' fellow Staten Island Republicans, Borough President James Oddo, had stronger even words for the white supremacists.
U dont have to be a tough guy to think if you went behind the school yard w/ any of these sick SOB's you'd easily knock the snot out of them pic.twitter.com/vCbC14oNpI— Jimmy Oddo (@HeyNowJO) August 14, 2017