To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it was the worst of years, it was the worst of Presidents to get us through 2020.
Anyone who knew of Donald Trump's career aside from his one conspicuous success—acting like a titan of industry on a reality-TV show—couldn't have been altogether surprised that when he got a sense of how rough the coronavirus pandemic might be, his primary thought was that he couldn't let it interfere with a thriving economy he expected would carry him to a second term.
Long-term planning has never been a strength for him. That much was obvious from the six times when he declared business bankruptcy, with several of those coming when his father Fred was still around to bail him out if it just meant buying a few million dollars worth of chips at one of Donald's Atlantic City casinos.
And so a special Federal pandemic unit created by the Obama Administration to deal with unexpected health catastrophes had been disbanded at Mr. Trump's order a couple of years earlier. He probably figured if it came from Mr. Obama, dismantling it would go over big with his followers.
He told Bob Woodward last Feb. 7, for a book the Washington Post journalist was writing, that the virus, rather than being spread only by touch, "goes through air...It is also more deadly than...even your strenuous flus." In late March he told him he had downplayed the seriousness of the virus "because I didn't want to create a panic."
Fervent Followers Foamed About Precautions
And as he carried out his deception of the public, his acolytes raged against those state and local officials who took steps to prevent the spread of the virus by closing down businesses and schools.
On March 15, David Clarke, the former Milwaukee County Sheriff (and Police Benevolent Association Man of the Year) who at one point after the 2016 election thought his rabid railing against Mr. Trump's critics had gotten him a top Homeland Security job that for some reason never materialized, tweeted, in capital letters, "GO INTO THE STREET FOLKS...END GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER OUR LIVES."
That same day, former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik declared Mr. Trump to be the only elected official with any guts, thundering, "Today's cowardice in governors and mayors is frightening!"
When Mr. Trump in mid-April retweeted "Fire Fauci," Mr. Kerik quickly took up the cry. The doctor who had been Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since the administration of President Ronald Reagan had angered this President by urging the sheltering in place that put a damper on what Mr. Trump came to describe as his "beautiful economy."
He shared a kinship with Mr. Kerik that went beyond his having pardoned the man Rudy Giuliani had chosen as first his Correction Commissioner and then his Police Commissioner based almost entirely on his fierce loyalty. Like Mr. Trump, Bernie was a live-for-the-moment-and-beyond-your-means guy. That was why he had filed for personal bankruptcy four times before being chosen Police Commissioner, and tried to help two mob-connected brothers obtain a waste-transfer station from the Giuliani administration in return for $165,000 worth of renovations they paid for in his Riverdale apartment.
Mr. Kerik's inability to imagine worst-case scenarios for himself was also what led him to accept a nomination—at Mr. Giuliani's urging—by President George W. Bush in late 2004 to be Homeland Security Secretary. It was his lies during the job interview for the position about matters including the Riverdale renovations that led to his becoming a Federal inmate six years later, serving three years behind bars in a startling fall from power to humiliation, until he was partly redeemed by Mr. Trump's pardon.
Loyalty Over Honesty
Like Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump prized loyalty far more than honesty or competence. That was why he remained furious with Dr. Fauci—but reluctant to fire him because of the uproar it would have caused—and instead relied on the advice of Dr. Scott Atlas, whose expertise was not in infectious diseases but whose positions on the virus closely adhered to Mr. Trump's, to the point that he tweeted in mid-October, "Masks work? NO."
If Mr. Trump had mobilized the nation nine months ago against the coronavirus and asked for sacrifice in the name of getting it under control, he might easily have won re-election despite his other gaping flaws as a leader. But he had always been a man with an eye for the quick buck and what glittered, rather than someone with the patience and wisdom that are particularly important in troubled times.
So his bellicose defiance of what the best scientists in America advised about dealing with the virus produced both a damaged economy and a death toll that was heading past 340,000 Americans as the year came to a close.
Here in New York, similar miscalculations were made by Democratic officials in their response to protests that touched the city as they did most other urban centers throughout the nation following the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop who pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes while other officers ignored bystanders who urged them to intervene.
Enough outrage was stirred up over NYPD officers' rough handling of protesters in some instances that it obscured some of the conduct—including hurling Molotov cocktails at police vehicles and physically assaulting cops with fists, rocks and bottles—of demonstrators who were more intent on rioting than making a needed point peacefully. There were also waves of looting of stores and destruction of property from Soho to high-end stores in the East 50s, as well as similar smash-and-grab work in less high-rent areas of Brooklyn and The Bronx.
Yet Mayor de Blasio and most City Council Members failed to condemn the violence and thievery and express the frustration and anger that were felt by many residents over these perversions of the rallies. The series of marches themselves raised some eyebrows as mass gatherings that posed the same public-health issues as the tightly packed Trump re-election rallies and the massive funerals in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of the city that were particularly hard-hit by the virus.
Cops Became Scapegoats
Instead, they went after the police: first by cutting the NYPD's budget, then by passing a law that subjected officers to criminal charges if they compressed the chests of people they were trying to arrest, even if they did so inadvertently. Those moves, on top of earlier criminal-justice changes enacted by the state regarding bail reform and giving those charged with crimes greater access to discovery materials that included information about the witnesses against them, brought a furious response from the police unions.
After 28 years of crime declining, the beginning of 2020 had brought a rise in shootings and homicides that was briefly stalled by the pandemic forcing so many New Yorkers to retreat to their homes. But as the weather grew warmer, gun violence resumed its upward trend. At the same time, an unusually large number of officers left the NYPD—in many cases not for retirement but to take other jobs, more than a few outside law enforcement.
This left the force—also depleted by the nearly 10,000 cops who contracted the virus during the spring and were sidelined for at least a couple of weeks (a half-dozen died as well)—short-handed. The compression bill led many cops to avoid coming into contact with the torsos of those they were trying to arrest, leading them to summon back-up, so that four or more officers could bring a suspect to the ground without running afoul of the new law. Enforcement had previously been infringed upon when, responding to community complaints over a couple of incidents, the NYPD disbanded its Anti-Crime teams that specialized in making arrests while taking illegal guns off the street.
The most-shocking manifestation of the frustration of cops and their unions was the PBA's decision to endorse Mr. Trump—the first time it formally backed a candidate for President in more than 30 years—followed by union President Pat Lynch's impassioned speech at the Republican National Convention six weeks later. Early in his administration, one veteran officer pointed to Mr. Trump's bullying tendencies and wondered why so many of his colleagues supported a guy he said they'd hate if he was their boss. Some law-enforcement critics of Mr. Trump argued that his unyielding support of cops was matched only by his disregard for the rule of law when it infringed upon his own prerogatives.
That tendency would become particularly pronounced when the election did not go the President's way, and he frantically sought to have the result overturned, using tactics that included baseless charges and crackpot conspiracy theories that fired up his supporters but failed to convince judges hearing the cases—more than a few of them Republican appointees, some chosen by Mr. Trump. He also, both personally and through his followers, tried to intimidate some election officials into throwing out the results, only to have them stand firm (again, with a bunch of GOP officials in that group).
Biden Kept His Cool
Joe Biden, who pursued a moderate course starting with the Democratic primaries even as several other contenders tacked left, maintained that same even-keeled demeanor as the President raged and sputtered while claiming that the former Vice President's son was neck-deep in scandal that the media was covering up. Having said during his campaign, which largely consisted of appearances via Zoom—in sharp contrast to Mr. Trump's continued use of rallies that doubled as super-spreader events when so many who turned out followed his lead and disdained masks—that if elected he would work just as hard on behalf of those who hadn't voted for him as those he had, he stuck to that stance while Mr. Trump refused to concede.
There were a few other constants—generally not as reassuring as Mr. Biden's calming approach. Even as both murders and shootings swept past last year's city totals by mid-fall, the compression law remained intact despite some discussion among Council Members a month after it was enacted about amending it so at the least cops would not face criminal liability if the compression was unintentional. And the driving force behind that law, Councilman Rory Lancman—who added the compression portion to what had previously been a routine anti-chokehold measure in June because, he later said, he knew Mr. de Blasio lacked the political courage to veto it—moved on to take a consumer-advocate position under Governor Cuomo.
There were also some positive developments: vaccines that began to be administered in mid-December the biggest among them. And amid Mr. Trump's pardons of a bunch of dubious characters—including four employees of Blackwater who killed 17 Iraqi civilians 13 years earlier when they fired into a crowd for no good reason—there were signs that virtue would be rewarded in the new administration.
Three days after Dr. Atlas resigned in late November, having embarrassed himself by hurting the coronavirus task force's efforts to reduce the spread of the disease, Dr. Fauci—whose warning of a second wave coming by the fall had proved prophetic—was named by Mr. Biden to be his chief medical adviser.
Continuing a long tradition in this column of singling out those whose actions—good and bad—garnered attention over the past year while also predicting—often winding up way off the mark—what might happen in the year to come, here are our annual awards and crystal-ball follies:
Winners and Sinners
The Takes a Dissing and Keeps on Kissing Award—Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who during the 2016 campaign had his wife's appearance mocked by Mr. Trump, who also accused his father of taking part in the assassination of President John Kennedy, yet continued supporting each fresh outrage perpetrated by the President, including offering to argue his rigged-election claims before the Supreme Court, in hopes that it will get him Mr. Trump's nod for a future presidential bid.
The Where Did My Political Future Go? Award—City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, long regarded as the front-runner to succeed Mr. de Blasio, who tearfully apologized for not cutting the NYPD's budget more even after he was subjected to harassment, including the vandalizing of his boyfriend's apartment, by Defund the Police advocates who literally meant it, and later said he was dropping out of the Mayor's race due to depression.
The Where Did My Reputation Go? Award—Just-departed U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who undercut the findings of the Mueller Report as the first down-payment on his bid to be Mr. Trump's Roy Cohn but eventually wound up out of favor with the President when he wouldn't go along with his claims that the election was fixed and that China, not Russia, was behind the successful computer hacking of several key government agencies.
The I Regularly Electrify My 20 Million Social-Media Followers, So Why Can't I Get a Humble Seat on the House Energy Committee? Award—Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who discovered that being a dominant figure on Twitter and Instagram and making the cover of Vanity Fair weren't enough to persuade fellow Democrats angered by her strident defense of the Defund the Police movement after that issue created a backlash that reduced their House majority.
The Turn Left So She Won't Wind Up With My Seat in the Senate—Chuck Schumer, whose latest attempts to lose his nickname of The Senior Senator From Wall Street were his calling for forgiveness of up to $50,000 in student loans and then $2,000 stimulus checks after previously signing off on a bipartisan deal to limit the payments to $600.
Rudy the Ridiculous
The From America's Mayor to Russia's Asset Award—Rudy Giuliani, who as President Trump's personal lawyer became so obsessed with digging up dirt on Joe Biden that he became a conduit for false narratives being peddled by Andriy Derkach, whom the U.S. Treasury Department in September described as "an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian intelligence services."
The Maybe It's Maybelline Award—Mr. Giuliani once again, in this case for his literal meltdown under the television lights at Republican National Committee headquarters, where his conspiracy theories about the election were interrupted by the sight of a brown liquid rolling down both cheeks that was believed to be either hair dye or mascara.
The All Messed Up With No Place to Go Award—Mayor de Blasio, whose mishandling of the protests and signing of the compression bill over the strenuous objections of top NYPD commanders offered further proof that he was temperamentally unsuited to run the city while leaving him so alienated from its residents that the three former aides now running to succeed him are doing their best to distance themselves from him.
The Yeah, This Year Didn't Work Out for Us Politically and Our Contract's 41 Months Out of Date, But Think of Those Retro Checks Award—PBA President Pat Lynch, whose hopes of maintaining a close ally in the White House fizzled out after an endorsement of Mr. Trump that alienated much of the state's Democratic establishment, at the same time that arbitration hearings on a new contract have been placed on an indefinite hold because of the pandemic.
The Well At Least It Got People's Minds Off the Buffalo Billion and This Book's Doing Better Than the Last One—Governor Cuomo, who got high marks and a lucrative advance after his clear, candid portrayal of the coronavirus situation on a daily basis over several months at the same time that President Trump was offering his alternative version of reality, took heat for coming out with the book while the pandemic was still unresolved, particularly because his decision to return discharged hospital patients to their nursing homes was suspected to be partly responsible for the high death rates in those facilities.
The People Have Forgotten That I Spent A Billion Dollars Running for President and Got Nowhere, Haven't They? Award—Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg discovered that his largesse toward the Democratic Party and its efforts to defeat Mr. Trump couldn't save him from a primary debate in which his opponents skewered him over stop-and-frisk and remarks he'd made about women at his company.
The Two Guys Who Were Mayor and Wanted to Be President Bombed, But Maybe I Can Reverse the Process Award—Andrew Yang, the "other" wealthy businessman who got some traction but few votes for his idea to give every American $1,000, might be able to up the ante, given the smaller population he would have to convince and then pay if he's elected Mayor.
The Second Worst Family to Serve in the Trump Administration Award—Betsy DeVos and Erik Prince, the sister/brother team that gave us a Secretary of Education best known for her disdain for public schools and in Mr. Prince, a big Trump donor and the founder and former CEO of Blackwater, the military contractor which was back in the news after the President recently pardoned four of its employees for their 2007 murder of 17 Iraqi civilians. (The company, which Mr. Prince sold in 2010, has since been renamed Academi.)
And now, a list of things that may or may not happen in 2021:
Jan. 4—The day before the two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia that will determine whether Republicans hold on to their majority, President Trump appears, maskless, before a cheering crowd of more than 10,000 GOP partisans. "I'm here to tell you to vote for What'shisface and What'shername," he says, quickly adding, "but first I'm gonna talk about the big fraud perpetrated by the Democrats and the Fake News and the turncoats like your Governor and my so-called Fox Friends."
He moves from a recap of his 2016 Election Night victory to the "beautiful economy" he had created until "the Chinese Flu" arrived, then insists that he still won in a landslide but "the rigged machines and the crooked officials and the blind judges got in the way." Two hours later, he segues from a story about how his second wife was called "the Georgia Peach" by the New York tabloids before he married her into the "somebody stole my strawberries" speech by Humphrey Bogart in "The Caine Mutiny," never quite getting back to the two Republican nominees he wants them to vote for.
"Ah, what's the difference," Mr. Trump concludes. "Even if they win, Mumblin' Mitch will get them to sell you out."
Jan. 5—Moments after the networks announce that due to low Republican turnout at the polls, they can project victories for Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff thanks to huge majorities in the mail balloting, Chuck Schumer appears on the Senate floor in the Capitol Building and declares, "I'm the Majority Leader—where's that big gavel?"
Now-Minority Leader McConnell tells reporters, "On second thought, I probably should have told my Senators to vote their consciences during that impeachment hearing."
Jan. 6—An attempt to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election turns into chaos when Mr. McConnell, rather than standing on the Senate floor to make sure no one in his conference opposes an orderly proceeding, instead is found inside his office banging his head against his desk. More than a week will pass before the Supreme Court unanimously rules that the attempt to annul the vote in the Electoral College was illegal and that Mr. Biden will officially become President Jan. 20.
Jan. 13—Mr. Trump decides to break new ground, so to speak, by issuing a posthumous pardon to Roy Cohn, arguing that while his former lawyer and confidant was acquitted of all criminal charges against him, he couldn't be sure that in the current climate the old accusations of witness-tampering and fraud wouldn't be resurrected.
"My greatest regret is that Roy didn't live long enough to see me elected President, and then serve me as a real Attorney General, UNLIKE THE BACKSTABBERS JEFF SESSIONS AND BILL BARR," he tweets.
Jan. 14—Mr. Trump issues another flurry of pardons, this time pre-emptively, on behalf of "my entire family EXCEPT FOR MY ROTTEN NIECE MARY; Rudy Giuliani, and all those at Fox News and the New York Post "who stayed loyal rather than BETRAYING ME."
Asked for a reaction, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "We're looking into legislation that would ban capital letters from Twitter."
Jan. 20—After an early-morning round of golf at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, during which he cheats even more than usual, the 45th President live-tweets the inauguration of his successor, proclaiming in capital letters that the crowd is far smaller, there aren't nearly as many reporters or hecklers, and the speech is much shorter.
Feb. 6—The Buffalo Bills, on a last-second touchdown pass from Josh Allen, defeat the Green Bay Packers 35-31 in the Super Bowl.
Governor Cuomo, who watched the game by himself to avoid accusations of not following his own rules on social distancing, tweets, "Hey, New Jersey, you can have the Jets and Giants. The one true New York team is the champion."
No Cy of Relief
Feb. 25—Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance indicts ex-President Trump on multiple counts of tax evasion, tax fraud and general Trumpery. Defense attorney Rudy Giuliani calls it "a publicity stunt by an unscrupulous prosecutor—and nobody knows more about that kind of thing than I do."
Asked why his client didn't appear in court, the ex-U.S. Attorney replies, "He didn't have to. The President is now a resident of Florida, which as everyone knows does not have an extradition treaty with New York and therefore can't be required to surrender him."
"Who told you that?" a reporter asks.
"The President himself," Mr. Giuliani replies. "And he got it straight from Gov. Ron DeSantis."
"He's wrong," the reporter replies. "New York and Florida are part of the same country, so no extradition treaty is needed."
"No, you're wrong as usual," the ex-Mayor replies. "New York is to Florida as Cuba is to Florida: the place exiles leave seeking political freedom."
Mr. Vance, asked for a reaction, says, "Mr. Trump can come here to face the music, or he can stay where he is. Either way, we're going to have a trial."
March 21—Donald Trump Jr. becomes the 52nd candidate to announce he's running for Mayor. Asked whether he plans to run as a Republican or change his affiliation to Democratic to have a chance to compete in the latter party's primary, he responds, "I've got no use for either party. I'm forming my own, and calling it the Hunting Party."
Asked why he hadn't sought the nomination of the third-leading party, the Conservatives, he responds, "They're too liberal."
Following his press conference, he is approached by two members of the Proud Boys, who ask what they can do to help.
The younger Trump chuckles and says, "Well, it'd be great if you gave some of those RINOs a hard time."
"Consider it done," one of them says.
A couple of hours later, Mr. Trump gets a call from a Sergeant at the 52nd Precinct. "We just arrested a couple of knuckleheads who were trying to break into the rhino exhibit at the Bronx Zoo," the Sergeant says. "Ed Mullins said I should give you a call and check whether they were really following your orders, or you never heard of these guys."
"Lemme talk to them," Donald Jr. says.
One of the Proud Boys tells him, "We did exactly what you said. And we left the southern white rhino alone; the only one we were gonna rough up a bit was the Indian rhino."
"Geez, I'm gonna have to call you Eric 1 and Eric 2 from now on," Don Jr. says. "I meant Republicans in Name Only, not jungle animals."
'Undecided' the Early Leader
April 17—A new poll involving the Mayor's race shows that none of the 52 declared contenders has more than 5 percent of the vote. But Lee Miringoff of Marist says that among the 1,200 voters surveyed, 150 said they'd vote for Cy Vance if he entered the race.
"Obviously indicting a former President got him some positive name recognition," he said.
Democratic Party officials respond that it is too late to submit petitions to get on the primary ballot.
Mr. Vance, asked about the survey, reminds reporters he has opted not to seek another term as District Attorney.
"Interesting," he says of the poll.
May 16—Donald Trump Sr. is convicted in absentia. His only comment is a tweet calling his refusal to stand trial or comply with a subpoena for his tax returns "a battle to preserve the 2nd Amendment. I feel the same way about my RETURNS as I do about GUNS: if I turn them over, this country turns into a DEMOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP."
Donald Jr. is located making campaign stops in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, the two Brooklyn neighborhoods with the largest Russian populations. "We did a lot of business with these guys, before my Dad said we shouldn't talk about that," he said.
June 7—Mayor de Blasio shocks the city by going on Sean Hannity's Fox News show to endorse Donald Trump Jr. as his successor.
Asked by reporters afterward how he could do that, he says, "Well I asked all the Democrats, and none of them thought my support would help them. And Sean and I debated a couple of years ago, and there was a kind of transcendent rapport between us. And I'm out of a job at the end of the year, and it's pretty obvious that President Biden doesn't want me in the cabinet, so I figured I'd expand my options for a talk-show role a bit.
Donald Sr. tells a New York Times reporter, "It's one of the few things Max Rose and I agree about: he's still the worst Mayor in the city's history. But he got more than 70 percent of the vote both times he ran—which almost matches my numbers in 2016 and last year—and as Kim Jong-un once told me, you take your support where you can get it."
June 22—In a political shocker, write-in ballots for Cy Vance give him 44 percent of the Democratic primary vote, meaning he gets the nomination without need for a runoff.
Donald Jr., asked for a reaction, says, "He's a lightweight. Nine years ago he had the same kind of evidence of fraud against Ivanka and me that he used to convict my Dad, and he couldn't pull the trigger on an indictment. I put the Hunting Party on the map, and with Crazy Rudy Giuliani as my chief campaign strategist, I'm gonna bury Cy in the November election. Then I'm gonna clean up this city the way it needs to be."
Asked how he would do that, he replies, "I'm gonna ask my Dad to be Investigation Commissioner. Who knows more about public corruption than him?"
July 18—The Mets sweep a doubleheader to open a nine-game lead in the National League East, while the Yankees continue a hot streak that began when Aaron Boone benched both Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton and surge past the Tampa Rays to lead the American League East.
Governor Cuomo, feeling characteristically nervous about his run for a fourth term in 2022, when asked by reporters for comment on either of them being able to bring a second world championship to New York after the Bills' success, says softly, "Save a little for next year, boys."
Aug. 22—Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decides to scoop the President, telling reporters at the Brooklyn Bridge that the following morning Mr. Biden is going to announce a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure initiative to revive the American economy and send the stock market to new highs. Asked whether he should be stealing the President's thunder, Chuck replies, "It's my biggest achievement as Majority Leader—what am I, chopped liver?"
Sept. 13—Rudy Giuliani arrives at the State Court of Appeals in Albany to present his arguments to annul Donald Trump's conviction. Before court is called into session, he is approached by a young woman from the New York City Sheriff's Office, who says she has something for him.
He replies, "OK, honey, just give me a minute while I tuck in my shirt."
"Actually," she says, "I'm gonna need both your hands before I can tell you what I need to say."
"And what's that?" he asks, a big grin creasing his face.
She smiles back and says, "You're under arrest" and slaps the handcuffs on.
"What's the charge?"
"Start with impersonating a lawyer."
"You remind me of my bitter ex-wife."
"Which one?" she says.
The Oddfather, Part 2
Oct. 4—Since early summer, President Trump has been walking through Mar-a-Lago every morning in his bathrobe, picking up copies of the New York Times at the front desk and ripping them to shreds as the sound system blares the theme song from "The Sopranos." Lately, however, he has been walking the grounds mumbling to himself, leading to speculation that rather than paying homage to the TV series, he is stealing a page from the defense handbook of Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, who avoided prison while Mr. Giuliani convicted his stand-in, Fat Tony Salerno, by convincing courts that he was too crazy to be held criminally responsible.
Mr. Vance tells the sentencing judge in Manhattan not to buy this act. "If he was really crazy, your honor," he says, "when Mr. Giuliani had to be removed from the case, Mr. Trump would have replaced him with Sidney Powell. Instead he found himself a competent defense lawyer."
"I'll take it under advisement," the judge says.
Oct. 27—After Jacob DeGrom pitches eight scoreless innings but is removed from a tie game, the Mets win the 7th game of the World Series when Amed Rosario homers off Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the 9th.
Nov. 2—Cy Vance loses Staten Island to Donald Trump Jr. but easily defeats him in the rest of the city, matching Mr. Biden's Manhattan performance by getting 86 percent of the vote there.
"Just think," the victor says, "it wasn't that long ago that I was being criticized for not indicting the Trump children and de Blasio when I had the chance. Suddenly I convict the ex-President and I'm the toast of the city and its next Mayor."
That remark gets no reaction from President Trump, although a source close to him tells The Times, "It was either go ballistic on Twitter and have to pay appeals lawyers the rest of his money to avoid doing 4-12 years on the tax case, or dummy up and keep golfing in his bathrobe. Not an easy call, but I think he made the right choice. And he swears that staying off Twitter has added 20 yards to his drives."
A Few Changes of Plans
Nov. 24—The day before Thanksgiving, Mayor de Blasio quietly signs a City Council bill repealing the chest-compression penalties against police. Anonymous sources say he and the Council were forced to concede after homicides continued to rise for the previous 15 months that it was having a negative effect on public safety.
Dec. 31—Hours before he will take the oath of office as Mayor, Mr. Vance said he is appointing a special commission to review whether closing Rikers Island is such a good idea at a time when the inmate population is back above 6,000 and construction has yet to begin on new jails in four boroughs meant to hold a smaller number of detainees.
"It's great to have ideals, but if practical experience tells you they're not going to work, you have to take a fresh look and maybe do something different," he says, standing alongside his appointee as Correction Commissioner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Happy New Year.
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