NYC Mayor Eric Adams Faces Backlash for Controversial Analogies

25 December 2023

Mayor Eric Adams draws criticism for using plane crash analogies in recent public statements

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is facing scrutiny and backlash after making controversial analogies involving plane crashes in two separate instances. The remarks, which have drawn criticism from various quarters, have raised questions about Adams’ choice of words and his ability to effectively communicate as the leader of one of the most prominent cities in the world.

An Unfortunate Reference to 9/11

During an interview with WPIX that aired on December 17, Adams was asked to sum up 2023 in one word and explain its meaning. In a surprising response, Adams quickly replied, “New York,” before invoking 9/11. He stated, “This is a place where every day you wake up you could experience everything from a plane crashing into our trade center to a person who’s celebrating a new business that’s open. This is a very, very complicated city. And that’s why it’s the greatest city on the globe.” This analogy drew immediate backlash, as invoking the tragic events of 9/11 in such a context was seen as insensitive and inappropriate.

Likening Himself to a Pilot

A day later, Adams hosted a community meeting in Queens, where he addressed his critics and shared personal experiences of being bullied. However, his analogy involving planes once again came into play. Adams stated, “I am the pilot, folks, and you are all passengers. Stop praying for me to crash the plane. Pray for me to land the plane because there’s no parachutes on this plane. We’re all going down together. We’re going to land together, or we’re going to go down together.” This comparison drew further criticism, with many questioning the suitability of such language from a public official.

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A Pattern of Curious Comparisons

This is not the first time Mayor Adams has made controversial comparisons. In 2022, he drew criticism for stating that it’s difficult to differentiate between someone “hooked on cheese” and someone “hooked on heroin.” Additionally, during his first 100 days in office, Adams compared himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression, which raised eyebrows among political observers.

Responding to Backlash

In response to the backlash he received for his 9/11 analogy, Adams addressed the issue during a press conference. He defended his comments, stating, “To the analogy of the complexity of what could happen in this city, from planes landing on our Hudson River to all the other things — that was my comment. Those who take my comments in good faith are not going to try to turn them around… People knew what I was saying. The city is complex.” However, critics argue that there are numerous other analogies that could have been used to convey the complexity of the city without invoking such sensitive topics.


Mayor Eric Adams’ recent controversial analogies involving plane crashes have sparked criticism and raised questions about his judgment and ability to effectively communicate as the leader of New York City. While Adams has defended his comments, the backlash highlights the importance of thoughtful and sensitive language from public officials, particularly when addressing topics as sensitive as 9/11. As the mayor continues to navigate the challenges of leading the city, it remains to be seen how these incidents will impact his reputation and ability to govern effectively.

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