After a feisty first debate in which they traded insults and accusations, the city's two Republican mayoral candidates — Fernando Mateo and Curtis Sliwa — faced off Thursday night, with some heated moments once again.
Sliwa vowed to hire 3,000 more police officers, saying that he would pay for such a big addition to the NYPD with what he called "a dedicated property tax," on places like Madison Square Garden, Columbia University, NYU and other large institutions.
In a similar vein, Mateo said that if elected mayor, the NYPD would have whatever it needs to help prevent and reduce crime. Both candidates said they would bring back "stop-and-frisk," a topic not popular among the Democratic candidates. The two also said they would have the NYPD's Anti-Crime Unit return.
Policing and crime were major topics for the debate, as Sliwa and Mateo both called for more officers in subways amid a surge in crime on public transit in the city (although they disagreed on where the officers should be — Mateo wants more on platforms, Sliwa wants more on trains).
Sliwa offered a dig at Mateo, a former activist for taxi drivers, for not spending enough time in the subways to know what was going on down there.
"I live in subways," The Guardian Angels founder said. Mateo replied that he couldn't afford to take the subways.
Later in the debate, Sliwa claimed that he was the candidate who had more support from fellow Republicans, not Mateo.
"Nicole Malliotakis has supported me. Rudy Giuliani supporting me. Former State Senator Marty Golden supporting me. Joe Borelli — Councilman, Staten Island South Shore — supporting me," Sliwa touted, referring to himself as a "Trump Republican" as opposed to Mateo, who he has called a "de Blasio Republican."
Mateo responded by saying that he was recently endorsed by former President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who he said "flew in from Virginia because he sees my position, and he knows that I am the only Republican that can win in a general election."
Mateo also revealed during the debate that he sat down with former President Trump on Thursday. He said that Trump, now a Florida resident, is "hurt by what is happening to the city. He has compassion for New York and New Yorkers."
Trump has not weighted in on who he supports in the mayoral race. Mateo wouldn't confirm to the NY Post whether he’d asked for Trump’s endorsement, saying only, "you may soon hear something."
On the issue of vaccinations, both Mateo and Sliwa said they would not require them for New York City schoolkids returning to in-person classes come the fall.