By Bill Donohue
This article was originally published at Newsmax.com on October 1, 2013.
He may be the next mayor of the city of New York. Only recently have we learned who Bill de Blasio is (no one really cared much about him when he was the city’s public advocate, an undefined made-out-of-whole-cloth job). Now that we have learned some important matters about his life, we are left with even more questions.
We know that his early political career was Marxist, and not just in an academic sense. He raised money for the Sandinistas, visited Nicaragua to align himself with the tyrants, and worked to undermine the efforts of the Reagan administration. No wonder he was endorsed by George Soros in August. Curiously, he decided to cover up his radical past: There is no mention of his extremist associations on his website.
The cover-up is not an anomaly. Quite frankly, Bill de Blasio has a problem with the truth. He was born Warren Wilhelm, Jr. in 1961. When he graduated from New York University in 1983 (where he was heavily involved in leftist causes), he changed his name to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm. In 2002, he changed his name again, settling on Bill de Blasio. The only reason we know this is because the media put the spotlight on him, forcing the issue.
Most of de Blasio’s Democratic contenders accused him of lying during the primary. For example, he boasted that if elected he would vote against a ban on racial profiling, never mentioning, as rival Christine Quinn said, that it is already illegal. He said he was the only person in the race who was pushing for a new police commissioner and an inspector general. False, said candidate John Liu — he held the same positions. Another competitor, Bill Thompson, accused de Blasio of lying about his stance on stop-and-frisk.
De Blasio’s character was impugned again when it was learned that he accepted over $50,000 from a group of slumlords. What made this so outrageous was de Blasio’s past denunciations of these same men while serving as public advocate.
Just recently, when The New York Times confronted de Blasio about his love for “democratic socialism,” expressed in 1990, he said, “[T]hat’s not a quote from me; that’s someone’s notes.” But in fact those were his words. When the Times told him it has the proof, he brazenly said, “It doesn’t matter.”
The lying is not confined to politics. De Blasio lied to his own children about where he and his wife honeymooned: he said they went to Canada, when in fact they went to Cuba. It is hardly surprising that a fan of the Sandinistas would want to break bread with Castro’s Cuba, but to lie to his children about his illegal trip speaks volumes about his character. By the way, his kids just found out during the primary campaign that they were lied to.
Catholics should be especially wary of de Blasio. In November 2000, he took over as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton; she was running for the U.S. Senate seat in New York. The month before, the Brooklyn Museum of Art hosted a vile anti-Catholic exhibit that featured elephant dung smeared on a portrait of the Virgin Mary; pornographic pictures also adorned the “art.”
Her rival, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (he would later drop out for health reasons), stood with the Catholic League; he even pledged to pull public funding to the museum (Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, who worked for Giuliani, also took this position). Clinton sided with the museum, endearing herself to the artistic community. In fact, it took her quite a while before she even said anything negative about the exhibit. Not unexpectedly, de Blasio went along.
In 2000, de Blasio was asked on TV about Hillary Clinton’s position on whether the Holy See should be given a seat at the U.N. “I actually don’t know, to be honest with you on what her position is,” he said. Yet he knew exactly what her position was on virtually every other issue, and could have at least spoken out against radical pro-abortion forces who were making anti-Catholic remarks at the time.
In 2010, I petitioned officials at the Empire State Building to have the towers lighted in blue and white in commemoration of Mother Teresa’s centenary. The owner, Anthony Malkin, denied the request, saying they had a policy not to honor religious figures. He was twice wrong: there was no policy at the time, and they had indeed honored religious persons in the past. Not to be dissuaded, I wrote to every New York public official about this issue, asking for their help. I got plenty of support, and some politicians even spoke at our rally in front of the iconic building. De Blasio ignored our request.
In February 2011, a pro-life group, Life Always, displayed a huge billboard in the SoHo section of New York that showed a picture of a young black girl with the inscription, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” The organization that was responsible for the billboard was strongly supported by prominent African-Americans; they chose to display it during Black History Month.
De Blasio went nuts. Mr. Public Advocate demanded censorship: he used his public office to pressure the group to take it down. “The billboard simply doesn’t belong in our city. The ad violates the values of New Yorkers.” Thus did he officially promote muzzling the free speech rights of New Yorkers.
Over the past decade, some New York public officials have decided not to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because, they say, homosexuals are barred from marching. De Blasio is one of them. The claim is based on an out-and-out lie: Gays have never been banned from marching. What the parade officials insist on is that all contingents honor St. Patrick — they are not allowed to have their own floats and banners honoring their own cause. This is why pro-life Catholics are banned from marching under their own banner. As New York’s Public Advocate, de Blasio decided he would rather show his solidarity with gays before siding with Irish Catholics.
Given de Blasio’s insensitivity to Catholic concerns, it is not unfair to at least probe his religious affiliation. No one seems to know. We called his office and emailed his staff, but to no avail. If he is an atheist — his Latin-American dictatorial buddies surely are — we would like to know.
There is one Catholic connection that de Blasio has, and it is not one that any practicing Catholic would want to be associated with. In the 1980s, he was employed by the Quixote Center, a fringe group of Catholics so radical that they were investigated by the Treasury Department for smuggling guns to their Sandinista friends. Indeed, the Quixote Center was also the subject of probes by the IRS and the U.S. Customs Service at this time. This is the same group of zealots who defended the cop-killing racist Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther who became a hero to left-wing extremists.
The Quixote Center is hardly a model Catholic outfit. Its “We Are the Church” campaigns have all sought to upend the teachings of the Catholic Church. All of their efforts have failed. No matter, this is the kind of Catholic organization that excites de Blasio, ones that reject the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
When “Occupy Wall Street” protesters took over Zuccotti Park, trashing the area, raping women, ripping off the homeless, defecating in the street, and taunting the police, there was no bigger fan in New York City than Bill de Blasio, aka Warren Wilhelm, Jr., aka Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm. If he wins, maybe he’ll honeymoon in North Korea. They would surely welcome him.
Dr. William Donohue is the president of and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. The publisher of the Catholic League journal, Catalyst, Bill is a former Bradley Resident Scholar at the Heritage Foundation and served for two decades on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars. The author of five books, two on the ACLU, and the winner of several teaching awards and many awards from the Catholic community, Donohue has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows speaking on civil liberties and social issues.