Mayor de Blasio is a such a big believer in the free press that he let two bodyguards physically remove a credentialed Post reporter who had the temerity to ask him a question in public on Sunday.
The unusual muzzling unfolded at the start of the annual Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan, where the reporter sought de Blasio’s reaction to The Post’s front page story about his administration’s many meetings with lobbyists.
It also came after Hizzoner appeared on national TV Sunday to proclaim, “I believe in a free, strong media with diverse views — I’ll defend it with all I’ve got.”
Just two hours later, after de Blasio cut a ribbon to kick off the parade and was posing for photos near West 37th Street and Sixth Avenue, the reporter asked him to comment on the “CITY FOR SALE” Page One story.
Instead of answering or even declining to answer the question, the mayor watched as two members of his NYPD security detail approached the reporter — who was wearing a police-issued press pass around his neck — with one grabbing his shoulder and leading him away from the mayor.
“Kevin, you have to leave. You can’t be here,” the plainclothes cop said.
Both bodyguards then escorted the reporter about a half-block away, where a member of the NYPD’s public-information office, Officer Brian Magoolaghan, told him, “Come on, Kevin. No stunts today.”
City Hall had previously declined to discuss records that showed officials held 136 meetings with lobbyists during just three months earlier this year.
The incident was reminiscent of one last month when the White House barred a CNN reporter from a Rose Garden event for shouting “inappropriate” questions at President Trump in the Oval Office earlier in the day.
Those questions involved secretly made audio recordings of Trump made by his then-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Trump’ s invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House.
Earlier Sunday, de Blasio appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” to discuss an interview last week with the Guardian, a liberal British newspaper, in which he criticized The Post’s parent company, News Corp, and its founder and Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
At one point, host Brian Stelter pressed de Blasio about his criticism of The Post, which the mayor has called a “right-wing rag.”
“Why do you feel it’s your role to be calling out a newspaper because you don’t like the content?” Stelter asked.
“Because I think it’s not happening enough….It’s not happening the way I think it should,” de Blasio answered.
De Blasio’s press secretary referred questions about the incident at the parade to the NYPD, which said in an email: “The Department takes appropriate and necessary measures to protect dignitaries, including the Mayor of the City of New York.”
Additional reporting by Ben Feuerherd