Toronto mayor tells TV viewers he is ‘not perfect’
Rob Ford heckles public and knocks over councillor at council meeting
Toronto mayor Rob Ford adjusts his tie during a special council meeting at City Hall in Toronto on Monday. Toronto’s City Council voted overwhelmingly to limit further his powers, as he denounced the move as a coup d’etat and warned political foes of an election battle next year to rival the Gulf War. Photograph: Aaron Harris/Reuters
Toronto mayor Rob Ford said he was “not perfect” in a defiant appearance on the Today show
yesterday, but defended his crack cocaine use by saying he was “very, very inebriated”.
“I embarrassed not just myself, my family, my friends, my supporters, the whole city. I take full responsibility for that,” Mr Ford told Today’s Matt Lauer.
The interview was filmed on Monday, hours after Mr Ford was stripped of many of his powers following a heated city council debate which saw the mayor heckle members of the public and accidentally knock a woman to the ground.
“We’ve all made mistakes, Matt,” Mr Ford told the Today show. “I’m not perfect. Maybe you are, maybe other people are. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve admitted to my mistakes.”
Toronto’s city council voted to cut Mr Ford’s office budget by 60 per cent on Monday. He will no longer chair the council’s executive committee and has been left with drastically reduced powers.
Mr Ford was investigated by police after reports surfaced of a video showing him smoking crack cocaine. The mayor had denied the allegations for months before admitting that he had used the drug during a drunken binge.
Lauer asked if it was “supposed to make anyone feel better” that Mr Ford had said he was drunk when he smoked crack cocaine. “No, not at all, but show me the video,” he said. Asked why the video mattered, Mr Ford said: “Because I want to see it. I can’t even barely remember it. I was very, very inebriated.”
He denied he had “played a game of semantics” when initially answering questions about his crack cocaine use and insisted he was not an addict. “I’m not [addicted to crack cocaine] and they said: ‘Do you use crack cocaine?’ No, I don’t use crack cocaine. No. Have I tried crack cocaine? Yes, I’ve tried crack.”
Mr Ford has said he was seeking medical help, but told the Today show that he was not getting treatment for drink or drug addictions, but instead was working out “every day” in a bid to lose weight.
Mr Ford was asked what would happen if “something terrible had happened to the city of Toronto”, such as a terrorist attack, while he was binge drinking.
“I’m very fortunate that hasn’t happened. It’s very few isolated incidents that it’s happened. And you’re absolutely right, I’m very fortunate that hasn’t happened.”
During the council meeting on Monday, he paced around the chamber animatedly, engaging in exchanges with members of the public. At one point he knocked down a councillor, Pam McConnell, as he bowled towards the gallery. He helped Ms McConnell, who is in her 60s, to her feet and later said he had been racing to the defence of his brother.
Last week the mayor was criticised after he said he had “enough to eat at home” when responding to allegations that he had performed oral sex on a female staff member. – (Guardian service)