Published 6:35 AM EDT Jun 26, 2019
Seeking to “establish credibility, especially among skeptical young voters” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio incited some skepticism about his own credibility from Twitter users Tuesday.
Preparing for the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, de Blasio posted screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation in which the mayor asks his son, Dante, for advice.
Dante, who graduated from Yale University in May, was the 2015 state debate champion while at Brooklyn Technical High School, an accolade that De Blasio cited when asking how best to “make my presence felt on that stage.”
To appeal to young voters, Dante suggested his father “tell the story of how you met mom while working as a young staffer at city hall and weave it into a reflection about how hard it is to find, like, ‘the one’ on Tinder.”
Throughout the exchange, Dante also suggested that De Blasio should “bring a litter of puppies to the debate stage” and “tell people that NYC was just Staten Island when you started your first term.”
“That is definitely a creative approach,” De Blasio responded. “But how about something that allows me to stand out by talking about my accomplishments? I need to impress the American people by showing them I’m a can-do guy.”
Several Twitter replies questioned whether the conversation was staged.
De Blasio campaign spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said the messages were “Dante’s real advice authored by him,” citing Dante’s high school debate record. Lapeyrolerie added that de Blasio’s preparation for Wednesday also includes “a mix of mock debate prep & drilling questions” from campaign aides Paul Lupo and Steve Jarding, the former of whom was a national debate champion at Emory University.
This is not the first time Dante has been involved on a de Blasio campaign trail. A thirty-second television advertisement called “Dante” first ran in August 2013 promoting de Blasio’s mayoral bid, turning Dante into a viral component of the successful campaign. The Wall Street Journal covered the then-teenager’s own interest in politics, while the New York Daily News ran a piece saying Dante’s “small-screen charm catapulted his father’s mayoral campaign into first place.”