Mayor Bill de Blasio faced a fresh round of questioning Friday about co-opting a Communist rallying cry made famous by Che Guevara – and offered up the same lame excuse.
“You can ask 1,000 times and I will give you the same answer: I had no idea it was associated with any one individual,” de Blasio said during an unrelated news conference at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital.
“If I had known it was associated, I wouldn’t have used it. Period.”
De Blasio – who studied Latin American history for his master’s degree and traveled to Nicaragua in 1988 to support the Guevara-inspired Sandinista government – outraged Miami’s Hispanic community on Thursday when he publicly quoted the bloodthirsty revolutionary.
“Hasta la victoria, siempre!” de Blasio said in Spanish to striking workers at the Miami International Airport.
The phrase, which means “Ever on to victory!”, is widely associated with Guevara, a key figure in Cuba’s Communist revolution and an icon to leftist radicals.
Following bi-partisan condemnation from Florida officials, de Blasio told CNN that he made “an honest mistake and I do apologize for it.”
That claim was rejected by US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who tweeted that “De Blasio studied Latin American politics in college, was a very active supporter of the Sandinistas in #Nicaragua & even honeymooned in #Cuba in violation of U.S. law.”
“But he had NO IDEA he was quoting Che Guevara today. It was all just an incredible coincidence,” Rubio added sarcastically.
The Republican Party of Florida also dug up a clip from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” that shows de Blasio joking about hanging “Che Guevara posters” in City Hall.
De Blasio was in Miami to participate in the first round of Democratic presidential primary debates, where on Wednesday night he and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren were the only two candidates to say they supported “Medicare for All” national health insurance.