New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed he didn't know "I Believe I Can Fly" was an R. Kelly song when he was recorded on video worshipping to it at a South Carolina church over the weekend, according to the New York Post.
De Blasio was in South Carolina, an early primary state, as he continues to consider running for president in 2020. Courtney Gross, a political reporter for NY1 News, recorded a video showing the mayor flapping his arms to the lyrics of R. Kelly's hit record. Kelly is currently facing numerous sexual abuse charges.
I wonder if the @NYCMayor realizes who sings this song 🤔 #SouthCarolina https://t.co/zHOESeQDKU— Courtney Gross (@Courtney Gross) 1552234995.0
"I didn't know it was his song," de Blasio said of the video. "I just didn't know it was his song. I know the song, but I didn't know it was him. Period. You act differently if you know but I just didn't know.
"And I know you guys have a job to do," de Blasio continued during a press conference, "but I hope if you were in the same situation you would accept if you don't know someone's song you can't pass judgment in the moment. I was a guest in that church, the minister played the song and spoke about it and I was being respectful. I think that's all there is to say about it. It wasn't something I had foreknowledge on."
Now is not the ideal time for a politician to be seen singing along to R. Kelly songs. Kelly was recently charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse for incidents dating back to 1998, allegedly involving minors as young as 13 years old.
De Blasio's potential presidential run already doesn't have a ton of momentum behind it. Politico reported Monday that many of his current and former aides and allies do not think he should run. One former aide called the idea "f***ing insane," and a friend told Politico it would be "idiotic."