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Don’t bother passing the torch — he just grabbed it.
Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams boldly proclaimed himself the city’s new leader as outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio looked on helplessly at a private political gathering on Wednesday, The Post has learned.
“Listen, I am the mayor,” Adams said at the start of a speech during the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s annual dinner.
De Blasio stood behind Adams with a smile frozen on his face, a brief video clip obtained by The Post shows.
But the lame duck appeared uncomfortable as Adams continued speaking for several minutes at the Giando on the Water restaurant and event space in Williamsburg, a person who was there said.
Adams never mentioned — or even looked at — the 6-foot-5 de Blasio, who reached over his likely successor’s shoulder to grab the microphone when Adams finished his remarks and began walking away, the source said.
“Bill de Blasio tried to hijack it as a moment to share the stage with Adams,” the source said.
“It was awkward.”
Another source said the habitually tardy mayor showed up late to the party, which was attended by Democratic bigwigs including state Attorney General Letitia James, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who represents Brooklyn and Queens, and US Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), representing Queens and Nassau County.
“He had to kind of finagle his way onto the stage,” the source said of de Blasio.
“It was a little weird. Eric gave his speech, which people were more attentive to.”
Earlier, Adams was introduced by the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s chairwoman, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (D-Brooklyn), who led the crowd in call-and-response chants of “The champ is here!” as Adams beamed and made a thumbs-up gesture.
Bichotte Hermelyn then handed off the mic to Adams, the outgoing Brooklyn borough president, and gave de Blasio a high five while appearing to laugh, the video clip shows.
Adams’ brash declaration came on the heels of his narrow primary victory last week and months ahead of both the Nov. 2 general election — in which he faces Republican Curtis Sliwa — and the Jan. 1 inauguration of the Big Apple’s 110th mayor.
But only hours earlier on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Adams “the next mayor of the city of New York” during a joint news conference in Brooklyn.
Cuomo said he was “very, very excited” to work with Adams, saying they “developed a true mutual respect and friendship” when Adams, a former NYPD captain, served in the state Senate.
The governor’s comments came in marked contrast to his long-standing feud with de Blasio, whom Cuomo last month derided as a weak leader and incompetent manager.
A de Blasio spokesman sarcastically said of Adams’ “I am the mayor” comment, “Damn. Now it’s official, I guess.”
“Everyone knows that you officially assume office if you declare you’re the mayor within 10 feet of the current mayor,” the spokesman added.
“How do you think [late Mayor] Abe Beame got the job?”
Sliwa, the Guardian Angels founder-turned-radio talk show host, called Adams “so pretentious, so omnipotent and so full of himself.”
“Is he a dictator? Do we not have a democracy? Do we not have an election process? Need I remind him he has barely eked out a victory against Kathryn Garcia?” Sliwa said.
“And yet he’s acting as if he’s leader of New York City and all roads lead to the Eric Adams City Hall.”
Adams campaign spokesman Evan Thies said Adams’ remark “needs context” because Hermelyn “had just said he’s the next mayor and he was speaking to that.”
Thies also claimed that Adams and de Blasio “have a good working relationship.”
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