Lhota calls Catsimatidis' 9/11 criticism 'amazingly disgusting' and 'pathetic'
On Primary Day, Republican candidate and former top Rudy Giuliani deputy Joe Lhota excoriated his rival John Catsimatidis for challenging the city's performance on September 11.
"It’s amazingly disgusting that he’s willing to politicize what happened on September 11," said Lhota, during an interview on Geraldo Rivera's WABC radio show. "No one in the history of this country has done it. He stooped to a level so low, so pathetic, it shows why he doesn’t have the temperament to be the mayor of the City of New York. “
During Sunday's Republican mayoral debate, the last before the primary, Catsimatidis argued that if Lhota is going to campaign (at least implicitly) on his role as Giuliani's deputy mayor for operations during the catastrophe, he also has to accept responsibility for some of the city's failures: namely, the fatal inability of some first-responders to communicate with each other, and the decision to house the Office of Emergency Management in a complex that had already been struck by a truck bomb in 1993.
“You know, Geraldo, it’s amazing," said Lhota today. "The investigation of what happened on September 11 and New York City’s preparedness has been evaluated by everybody. But the most important one was the 9/11 Commission. Not once did they make the allegation that John did."
It's not clear which allegation Lhota was referring to. The 9/11 Commission did in fact go into great detail about those first-responder communications problems and the location of OEM.
Candidates often accuse one another of violating an unspoken rule against politicizing September 11, with victims' families sometimes criticizing campaigns for using imagery from the tragedy that day.
Democrats even accused Giuliani of politicizing the attacks during his ill-fated run for president in 2008, a campaign that was largely premised on the mayor's performance that day.