Providence, RI – Police had to step in the middle and break up a confrontation between Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza after the two crossed paths in Providence on Wednesday night.
Both public officials were on the riverfront for a ceremonial lighting to celebrate the return of the WaterFire basins along the Providence River, FOX News reported.
Elorza is expected to challenge McKee in the Democratic primary for governor in 2022, WPRI reported.
Local news media cameras captured the moment when Elorza confronted the governor on July 28 over the state’s impending contract with the Providence Teachers Union, WJAR reported.
The governor has said he will not release details of his collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union until it is finalized, FOX News reported.
Elorza approached McKee and started screaming and pointing his finger at the governor, WJAR reported.
“Governor, this is too important for you to play the coward role on this,” Elorza yelled at McKee. “You gotta face the community on this.”
The Rhode Island State Police detail that provides security for the governor stepped in between him and the Providence mayor, FOX News reported.
“Mayor, back up,” a trooper told Elorza as he pushed him away from McKee.
The mayor later told WPRI that he made no apologies for his approach or for calling the governor a coward.
“You can’t be afraid to confront the community, sell it to the community,” Elorza said. “If you believe it’s a transformational contract, stand before the community and tell them why you believe it’s transformational. But simply hiding and doing it in secret and wanting to wrap this up before facing the community, that’s not the way that this is supposed to be done.”
McKee refused to comment on the confrontation with the Providence mayor or talk about the teachers’ union contract, WPRI reported.
“Right now, we’re celebrating WaterFire,” the governor said. “I’ll have more to say about that at our Tuesday press conference. Let’s hope the contract is ratified on Friday.”
McKee and Elorza were seen shaking hands later on at the event, WJAR reported.