NYC Mayor Eric Adams Ripped After Mocking Kansas for Having 'No Brand'

Eric Adams, New York City's Democratic mayor, is being scolded online by both progressives and conservatives for disparaging the state of Kansas for lacking a "brand," as Republicans also bashed his record leading the country's most populous city.

Adams on Tuesday drew ire for his offhanded remark during a press briefing on his recent humanitarian trips to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. During the trip, Adams said that people quickly recognized New York City, unlike Kansas, which Adams said "doesn't have a brand."

Following the remarks, Adams was roundly criticized for giving credence to the trope of urban liberals looking down on their rural counterparts used by Republicans against Democrats.

"Do you think it is possible for you to stop saying stupid things every day that help Republicans and hurt Democrats?" Don Winslow, author and liberal political activist, said in a tweet. "You don't need to crap on Kansas to pump up NYC. That clip will be played by Republicans for years. You're terrible at this."

Mayor Eric Adams
New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks onstage during Global Citizen Festival 2022 in Manhattan's Central Park on September 24, 2022. Adams drew scowls on Tuesday for saying that, unlike New York City, the state of Kansas doesn't have a "brand." Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Michael Quinn Sullivan, a conservative activist and publisher of Texas Scorecard, tweeted, "People are fleeing your corrupt and dangerous city to go to places like Kansas."

"Maybe your "brand" isn't what you think it is," he said.

Flanked by other city leaders, Adams described during the press briefing how he and other elected officials traveled to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where many New Yorkers have ties, to help with relief efforts following devastating storms.

Adams called New York City an "international city" and "America's city," and recalled the reactions from onlookers during the trip as they noticed his polo shirt with "mayor" on the back. He said the message was clear to residents of the disaster-stricken regions: "they matter."

"We sometimes take that for granted," said Adams. "We have a brand. New York has a brand, and when people see it, it means something, you know?"

Chuckling, Adams added, "Kansas doesn't have a brand."

The U.S. Census Bureau reported in May that New York City saw the biggest population decline last year, with 305,465 residents leaving the expensive and bustling city. That's nearly six times as large as its 53,624 decrease in 2019.

Meanwhile, Kansas' population neared 3 million in the 2020 U.S. Census, adding roughly 100,000 residents to its wide open spaces since the 2010 count.

Some conservatives used Adams' remarks to lob culture war attacks against Democratic-led jurisdictions.

"We go in the toilets and we believe God creates boys and girls and guns are legal and murders are rare," Matt Schlapp, chair of the Conservative Political Action Coalition, said in a tweet. "Your turn Mr Mayor."

Actor Eric Stonestreet tweeted, "I'm from Kansas and have been to New York many times," along with a promotional video touting the state's landscape as well as its culinary and cultural contributions.

"I find beauty in both places and with the people from both places," he said. "Too bad NYC's elected leader can't say the same thing."

While Adams said during the press conference that New York City is a beacon, he's previously disparaged fly-over states. During his campaign last year, he told a crowd in Harlem for newcomers to "go back" to Iowa and Ohio, reports The New York Times.

But Tim Rice, associate editor of The Washington Free Beacon, said in a tweet that Adams' remarks had united the political sphere.

"Conservatives and progressives are coming together to freak out about Eric Adams dunking on Kansas," he said. "It's amazing. New York rocks."

Newsweek has reached out to Adams' office for comment.