New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio was seen by many as an unexpected victor of last night's first round of Democratic presidential debates. But he didn't get to revel in that post-victory glow for very long.
De Blasio was forced to issue an apology on Thursday after quoting revolutionary Che Guevara at a Miami rally, as the Miami Herald reports he repeated the famous phrase associated with Guevara to a crowd of union workers: "Hasta la victoria, siempre!"
The New York City mayor immediately faced calls to apologize from some Florida Democrats for quoting someone who the Miami Herald noted is "one of the most hated historical figures throughout Miami." State senator Annette Taddeo tweeted that she's "utterly disgusted" while writing, "How can anyone wanting to be the leader of the free world quote a murderous guerrilla - in Miami no less! A community filled with his victims!"
State senator Jose Javier Rodríguez similarly wrote that "quoting a murderer responsible for death & oppression in communist Cuba and throughout Latin America is not acceptable," and both he and the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Terrie Rizzo, called for an apology. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fl.) also slammed De Blasio by tweeting, "It is unacceptable to quote a murderer like Che Guevara, especially in Miami, where so many people have suffered as a result of his brutality."
The Miami New Times characterized the whole situation by writing that De Blasio "broke the literal most-obvious rule of Miami politicking: Don't quote Che Guevara."
De Blasio on Twitter subsequently offered an apology by saying he "did not know the phrase I used ... was associated with Che Guevara" and saying that "I did not mean to offend anyone who heard it that way." He also said that "I certainly apologize for not understanding that history."