Rob Ford Is Still Mayor, Even Though He's Effectively Powerless
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Today is the first day of Rob Ford's "firewalled" mayorship of Toronto, after the City Council stripped him of most of his powers in a vote on Monday afternoon. Ford, who maintains that his drunken binges, crack use, and alleged cornucopia of other instances of misconduct can be swept away with an apology, wants to use his new celebrity status to explain his side of the story. Especially to Americans.
And what is his side, you ask? Ford argues that the effort to remove him from office after his admission to drug use is really about his record as mayor. "I went down to city hall, I cleaned it up. These people just aren't happy, these councilors want me out. The media wants me out," Ford told CNN's Bill Weir at the start of an American media tour this week. The Anderson Cooper 360 interview continues with Ford trying to explain why he first denied, and then admitted to, smoking crack:
WEIR (on camera): But can't you see why some would question your judgment?
R. FORD: So what? So lie about it? Just hide?
WEIR: No, no --
R. FORD: I'll say --
WEIR: You said you didn't do it in the first place. That shows --
R. FORD: No, no, I didn't say that. No, I didn't say that. You're wrong. You're absolutely wrong what they said. They said, do you smoke crack and are you a crack addict? No, I don't smoke crack and I'm not a crack addict, have I? Yes, I have. So that's what -- I didn’t lie, I don't -- I don't smoke crack. I haven't smoked crack in over a year. But did I? Come on.
WEIR: But that is semantics, Mayor.
R. FORD: Talk semantics.
WEIR: Come on. Totally semantics.
R. FORD: It's typical media. You guys are the same. You're all cut from the same cloth.
On the Today show Tuesday morning, Ford added that "Actions speak louder than words." That's intended to refer to his record as mayor, minus all of the crack. Yesterday, for reference, the mayor mimed drunk driving to an old (former) friend, accidentally knocked down a councillor, and argued with residents in the gallery during just one hearing. Those actions don't count either.
On ABC's Good Morning America, the mayor claimed that he was three weeks sober, adding that he fully intends to run for Prime Minister. Addressing the Monday vote by the city council, Ford said, "What happened today? That’s dictatorship. It’s all personal. They aren’t talking about my record."
The mayor, along with his brother Doug, also launched their new TV show last night, which effectively served as an hour-long post-campaign ad, framed as a news show. The Sun News Network show, called Ford Nation, is more or less a revival of the Ford Brothers' now-cancelled weekly talk radio program. The show was taped before the council voted to take away his mayoral powers. Addressing a relatively sympathetic "man on the street" interview with a Toronto resident who said he still thinks Ford should resign, Ford said that "people are telling me to stay the course."
This post originally appeared on The Wire, an Atlantic partner site.