“When I do my dime, I can do my time,” Mayor Eric Adams said last week, explaining his trip to Qatar, the host nation of the World Cup. Nearly one year into his administration, it had all the markers of a classic Adams quote: flashy, funny, repetitive, maybe not entirely true. While the mayor did pay for his hotel in the Middle East, his office later admitted that an antisemitism conference held in Greece picked up the tab for his flight to Athens and his connector to Doha.
His time in the Mediterranean was well accounted for — the conference, a Christmas-tree lighting, some ogling of street-cleaning gear — but his visit to the Persian Gulf was a little more opaque. As the New York Times notes in a trip postmortem, none of his events were open to the press, and his schedule didn’t detail the people he would meet or the location of the meetings.
Here’s what we do know: Days after Adams announced an extremely controversial plan to involuntarily commit New Yorkers suffering a mental-health crisis, he got out of town to watch the U.S. men’s soccer team lose valiantly to the Netherlands. He caught a match between Portugal and Korea. He met with the Qatar Investment Authority, the nation’s sovereign wealth fund with almost half a trillion in holdings.
In general, he wanted to get a “firsthand look” at the infrastructure in Doha ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which will be held across North America including in New York. But while other notable visitors to Qatar have tried to couch their praise with acknowledgements of the alleged atrocities that went into building the tournament, Adams did no such thing. He said in a press conference Saturday that the transportation for fans in Doha was “really impressive” and that “they did an excellent job of doing that.” He did not mention that thousands of migrant workers are thought to have died building the World Cup infrastructure.
Naturally, the mayor committed to having a good time all the time. When asked by reporters if he went to any clubs, Adams said, “The day life, the nightlife, everything is alive here right now.”