Election 2020

L.A. Mayor Hopes for a Mayor as President and ‘Cabinet Full of Mayors’

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington on Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who decided against his own run for president in 2020, said he would like to see a mayor as president as well as a cabinet of mayors because they would “know how to run things on day one” in the White House.

Garcetti was asked how he would react if New York Mayor Bill de Blasio entered the race.

“Great. I would be excited whether it was the current mayor or former mayor [of New York City]. I mean, I’m friends with Bill and Mike Bloomberg has been a great friend, supporter and mentor. I honestly mean this, I would honestly love to see not only a stage full of mayors and hopefully one of them becoming the nominee but I would love to see somebody come in as president and bring a cabinet full of mayors,” Garcetti said at the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting.

“I kind of fantasize that, I haven’t told anyone this, but, you know, like if you had a mayor who could come in and you have a former U.S. attorney as the mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, who could do a heck of a lot better job than our outgoing attorney general, although that’s one of the lowest bars, it’s kind of unfair to her but she would be exceptional. A Mike Bloomberg as Treasury secretary; you have all these folks who would know how to do Homeland Security, who would know how to run things on day one and who would be used to bringing people together across party lines,” he added.

When asked for his response to those who think mayors lack the experience needed for the presidency, Garcetti replied, “We’ve got TV reality stars as presidents, we’ve had our first African-American president, the time for obviously trying new things in both positive and sometimes negative ways is upon is. I don’t think it’s necessarily about the resume anymore that fits into somebody’s preconceived notions.”

Garcetti told PJM that the Democratic primary process should be about more than choosing who can beat Trump. Some Democrats have suggested that a young, fresh face would be best to challenge Trump in 2020 but Garcetti said age should not disqualify anyone.

“I think we just need somebody with a vision about the future. I know a lot of people are like ‘we just need somebody to beat Donald Trump’ – that’s not actually what the future is about. I know that feels like the moment for a lot of people, but we have to have a campaign that’s much bigger than opposition to any one person,” he said.

“Anxiety and excitement, it’s the age of anxietment, I call it, where on one hand technology is allowing us to FaceTime with our kids across the continent and put them to bed, but you wonder if that will put you out of a job. Healthcare is curing diseases we never thought was possible, but we can’t even afford our premiums,” he added.

Garcetti continued, “What I want to see is not somebody who can just defeat the incumbent president, I want somebody who is talking about winning that future – making sure we don’t get bypassed by other nations. I do believe a new generation sometimes knows those issues well, but I don’t exclude anybody.”

Garcetti specifically mentioned how he has “worked closely” with former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, who is considering a run for president.

“I don’t think age disqualifies anyone, but we do need a new approach. We do need a forward-looking vision,” Garcetti said. “This isn’t about stopping what’s just happened or this moment, it’s about winning that future.”

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, a 2020 presidential candidate, addressed critics who think he is too young to serve as president.

“Part of what we’ve been trying to get out there is mayors and the local leadership, because it is a functional level of American government right now, belong on the national stage. I think we’re going to do a much better job trying to solve national problems form our communities on out than expecting Washington to sort itself out without some big, big changes,” Buttigieg said.

“When it comes to experience, again, I’ve got more years of experience in government than the president and more years of executive experience than the vice president, more military experience than the two of them put together, so if we want to talk about experience I welcome that. It’s definitely different experience than we’re used to seeing. I think that might not be a bad thing right now because we can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing before,” he added.

PJM asked Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel if he thinks the Democrats need a newcomer who is younger than previous nominees to challenge Trump in 2020. In response, Emanuel said the Democrats should nominate a Washington outsider similar to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

“We need a healthy primary. We’ll have that and then just have people from outside to have a real debate about what’s going on, and we’ll have a candidate emerge from that field. I have a preference for somebody, if you look at Carter, Clinton and Obama, they’re all from outside of D.C. versus if you look at John Kerry, Al Gore and Hillary [Clinton]. And so, an outsider is better in my view,” Emanuel said.

“The other thing I would say is if you look at history, the last time we had three consecutive eight-year terms was Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and then followed by one term, and so my view is we’re due for a one-term president,” he added.