Toronto mayor rob Ford refused to resign Tuesday after earlier admitting he smoked crack cocaine once "probably a year ago... in a drunken stupor." Many were expecting Ford to use his second press conference to resign or take a leave of absence from office. Some reporters said Ford would announce he'll "seek help," but that wasn't the case. Ford turned his second press conference into, essentially, a stump speech for the next civic election. "I know what I did was wrong. And admitting it was the most difficult and embarrassing thing I've ever had to do," he told the assembled reporters at City Hall. "Folks, I have nothing left to hide. I would do anything to change the past. But the past is the past. And we must move forward." Ford's ability to turn his second press conference into a redemption-seeking campaign spot amused the present reporters:
"Again, I sincerely, sincerely, sincerely apologize," Ford says. "God bless the people of Toronto," he says as someone in the room laughs.— colin horgan (@cfhorgan) November 5, 2013
After months of non-denials, denials and run arounds, Toronto mayor Rob Ford finally admitted to smoking crack cocaine. "Yes I have smoked crack cocaine," Ford told a mob of assembled reporters at City Hall on Tuesday. "Probably in one of my drunken stupors." Shockingly, the mayor's brother and the mayor's staff apparently had no idea his admission was coming today. Ford still won't talk to police, though, or comment on the alleged video of the alleged one time he smoked crack cocaine.
This is a huge admission from the embattled mayor, who for months denied being a crack addict but would dance around answering whether he's ever smoked crack before. The press conference got off to a strange start, with Ford prompting reporters to set up the dynamite query. "You asked me a question back in May," he said. "You can repeat that question." After taking a moment to figure out what Ford meant, one reporter jumped at the obviously planned opportunity: "Do you smoke crack cocaine?"
For the record, Ford was asked many, many times in May and June whether he has ever smoked crack.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 5, 2013
Over the weekend, Ford used his weekly radio show to apologize for his recent embarrassing behavior. "I'm apologizing for some mistakes I've made in the past," Ford said Sunday afternoon. But he stopped short of bringing up his then-alleged crack cocaine smoking, and would only promise to "curb" his drinking in the future. Ford was referring to his wild St. Patrick's Day party at City Hall, and the time he showed up "hammered" to The Taste of Danforth street festival. He promised to enjoy "a few pops," as his brother, city councillor doug Ford put it, in the privacy and safety of his basement from now on. Now, it turns out, his drinking problem is so bad that he willingly smoked crack cocaine. And he allegedly doesn't remember where he was when it happened.
This admission does nothing to explain the numerous clandestine meetings witnessed by police between Ford and his former driver, alleged drug dealer Sandro Lisi, wherein the two men handed each other mysterious manilla envelopes and plastic baggies.
Earlier Tuesday, Doug Ford called for police chief Bill Blair, who has the tape of the alleged one time Rob Ford has ever smoked crack, to step down because he's "biased" against the mayor. "There’s obviously a bias right now moving forward in this city with the Police Chief against the mayor of this city," Ford said in a radio interview. Blair dismissed the city councillor's suggestions of bias and refused to respond. "I have a responsibility to uphold the law and I can’t be deterred from that by personal attacks," he said.
Ford called the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington, one of the city's most Ford friendly journalists, for a follow-up interview after his admission. "I feel like I got 1,000 pounds off my back," Ford told the Sun, before stating he still has no plans to leave office. "I am not going to quit or take a leave," he said. "The way I see it now, this is over."
But this issue is far, far from over. Remaining legal questions aside, Ford's allies in city council are beginning to turn on him now. Motions will be tabled by multiple city councillors over the next few days asking the mayor to apologize, resign or take a leave of absence.
"I think I know what's on the video and I know it's not pretty," Ford told the Sun. "Did I smoke something? Probably. It's ugly."