De Blasio, Corey Johnson’s relationship has ‘gotten worse,’ in ‘Cold War’

There’s a Cold War brewing at City Hall — between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

The long-strained relationship between the city leaders has become even chillier in recent months, with the term-limited mayor growing frustrated as his influence with the council dwindles, City Hall insiders say.

Meanwhile, Johnson — who is eyeing a mayoral run in 2021 — appears to be keeping his distance from de Blasio as Hizzoner’s popularity with voters continues to plummet.

“[The relationship] has definitely gotten worse lately. I don’t know the last time I saw them both at the same place at the same time,” a Democratic councilman told The Post.

“[There’s also] no mutual political value for them to be pals. For [the 2021 mayoral campaign], Corey wants to be viewed as the opposite of de Blasio. He can’t do that if they are seen as partners. De Blasio is focused on burnishing a legacy. He doesn’t need Corey to do that.”

Between May 16, when de Blasio began his short-lived 2020 presidential run, through the end of August, the mayor and speaker met or spoke on the phone a total of five times — including at a June 14 press conference to announce they reached an agreement on a new city budget, records show.

During the same period in 2018, both Democrats met or spoke on the phone about city business nine times.

Records tracking de Blasio and Johnson’s private work meetings and phone calls since September aren’t yet available, but sources say interaction between the two has been minimal at best.

One council insider said Johnson isn’t spending time with de Blasio because the mayor has become irrelevant after bombing out on the presidential campaign trail.

“[De Blasio] would be lucky if he gets a job as a CNN analyst” after leaving office, the insider noted.

Council members say the process of moving legislation has changed dramatically since Johnson took over as speaker and replaced a term-limited Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Manhattan Democrat who was de Blasio’s handpicked choice to run the council during his first four years in office.

“Last term, having mayoral support meant getting your bill passed,” said another Democratic councilman. “Now it probably means a death sentence.”

“The speaker has made it very clear that the mayor’s agenda is only the mayor’s agenda — and that it’s the City Council who’s actually driving the city’s agenda.”

Their frosty relationship dates back to the 2017 speaker’s race, when de Blasio failed to endorse a candidate but privately told confidantes he preferred someone less independent than Johnson — and more in line with his administration’s agenda, according to sources.

“It’s not the warmest of relationships,” the Democratic operative said.

After Johnson assumed control of the council in 2018, he and the mayor put up a good front, routinely supporting each other in public. But the détente ended in May when de Blasio launched his ill-fated White House bid.

While de Blasio was campaigning in Waterloo, Iowa over the summer, Johnson received widespread praise for assuming the role of de-facto mayor — including famously taking charge during Manhattan’s July blackout. 

And the speaker wasn’t shy about calling de Blasio out for spending too much time away from New Yorkers.

“They say that 90 percent of life is showing up. Well, 100 percent of being an elected official is showing up,” he told The Post in July.

The coldness continued even after de Blasio was forced to drop out of the presidential race in September over failing to top a mere 1 percent support in national polls.

“There’s things that happen, and no problem is too small for New Yorkers,” Johnson mused on Fox 5’s “Good Day New York” four days after de Blasio ended his 2020 bid. “So when you’re away, when you’re traveling, when in Iowa or South Carolina, New Hampshire or Vegas, New Yorkers are like, ‘We want you here.’ ”

Since then, neither has appeared together at press conferences or any other public events.

Johnson was conspicuously absent at two bill signings over the past month hosted by the mayor on legislation the speaker shepherded through the council — increasing access to Hart Island and the speaker’s ambitious citywide plan to reduce car use.

Johnson has said he was vacationing in London during the bill signing for the transit plan, but it’s unclear why he didn’t attend the Hart Island one.

“They’re both frankly pretty sensitive and prima-donnish when they feel slighted, so I could imagine there’s all sorts of things that could come between them that would create a kind of Cold War,” said a top Democratic operative.

But while de Blasio’s favorability rating among New Yorkers is just 27% — the lowest of the last three mayors — according to a November Siena College poll, he is more popular with the Big Apple’s black residents. Nearly half of black New Yorkers polled approve of de Blasio’s tenure.

And that’s a voting bloc Johnson needs to become mayor.

“It’s an unfortunate analysis by Corey given the kind of impact Bill de Blasio and his wife could have in a Democratic primary,” the Democratic operative said.

De Blasio spokeswoman Jane Meyer brushed off any talk of tension between the mayor and speaker. She said the pair have met privately since August — but wouldn’t say how many times.

“There is no story here,” she insisted. “The speaker is always welcome at our events, and he and the mayor continue to have a good relationship.”

Jennifer Fermino, the speaker’s spokeswoman, said Johnson and de Blasio “have a respectful working relationship and an open line of communication, so they can discuss the important issues facing New York City.”

She also said Johnson doesn’t go to all bill signings.

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