De Blasio mired in controversy as New York City ravaged by coronavirus: A look back at mayor's response

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has featured controversy after controversy as his hard-hit city tries to battle through the health crisis.

While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has received adulation and even calls for a presidential run, de Blasio has been mired in a seemingly endless string of blunders and unfortunate events.

Here is a look back:

DE BLASIO WARNING TO JEWISH COMMUNITY SPARKS BACKLASH IN LATEST CONTROVERY OVER CORONAVIRUS MEASURES

Warning religious communities

On more than one occasion, de Blasio has specifically gone after religious communities for violating social distancing policies.

In late March, ahead of the Passover and Easter holidays, the mayor threatened to have churches and synagogues closed down if they held services that did not follow social distancing.

Nearly a month later, the mayor singled out New York Jews after police broke up a funeral in Brooklyn for being too crowded. This drew condemnation as it was just months after the city saw a wave of anti-Semitic incidents that included violence and harassment against Jews. De Blasio later apologized, saying he was sorry “if in my passion and in my emotion I said something that in any way was hurtful.”

Asking New Yorkers to snitch on each other

De Blasio tried to enlist New Yorkers to help enforce social distancing, posting messages on Twitter in which he called on anyone seeing crowds in a business to take photos and send them via text message to a city hotline. Besides drawing criticism for trying to get residents to turn each other in, the hotline idea backfired, having to be temporarily shut down after it was flooded with prank messages including images of male genitalia.

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Delayed school closing

De Blasio publicly resisted the idea of closing public schools due to families’ reliance on them for both child care and free meals for students. When schools eventually did shut down, the meal program was able to continue.

Even when de Blasio tried to take a stronger stance on schools, stating they would remain closed for the rest of the school year, Cuomo reminded him that it is not the mayor’s decision to do that.

Not taking pandemic seriously early on

While de Blasio is currently taking a strong public stance in supporting social distancing, this was not the case for much of March, when the pandemic was already becoming an issue in the city.

In the middle of that month, de Blasio specifically encouraged people to go out in public, saying, "If you love your neighborhood bar, go there now." That same day, the mayor announced that schools in the city would be closing.

Less than two weeks before that, but after the pandemic had already hit, de Blasio tweeted that people should “go on with your lives + get out on the town.” He even gave a recommendation of a movie he thought people should see.

Out and about

De Blasio drew scorn from those trying to follow social distancing guidelines when he himself was going out in public for recreational purposes. In late April, he was spotted walking in a Brooklyn park with his wife, 12 miles away from their Manhattan home. In a video of the incident, a New Yorker yelled at the mayor for what he called “the epitome of nonessential travel.”

“Seriously you guys have a park, you live in the middle of a park,” the man said to De Blasio, referring to the mayor’s residence of Gracie Mansion, which is already within the confines of another park in Manhattan.

In March, just hours before Cuomo announced a statewide shutdown, CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski spotted de Blasio at a Brooklyn gym.

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A parade?

Even de Blasio's hopes for the city's post-pandemic future drew ridicule when he told reporters what he had in mind for when the crisis is over.

“When that day comes that we can restart the vibrant beautiful life of this city again, the first thing we will do is we will have a ticker-tape parade down the canyon of heroes for our health care workers and our first responders,” de Blasio said.

“The first thing we will do before we think about anything else is we will take ... time as only ... New York City can do to throw the biggest, best parade to honor these heroes -- and many, many great heroes have gone down that canyon to be appreciated and loved by millions of New Yorkers,” he continued. “But I think this will be the greatest of all the parades because this one will speak to the rebirth of New York City.”

The suggestion of immediately flooding the streets of lower Manhattan with crowds was immediately criticized.

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.