CREATIVE COMMONS/NICK PRETE
Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who was in Miami last week to assume the presidency of the U.S. Conference of Mayors
, gave a half-hour interview to "Off Message,"
a podcast produced by POLITICO. The POLITICO's Isaac Dovere begins the interview with the question "Should we call you Mr. President now?" to which Landrieu laughs and says, "I'm happy to be president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors."
The interview's entire first half rehashes the flap over the recent Confederate monument removal and Landrieu's much-lauded speech as the Robert E. Lee statue was removed — which some have speculated was really an address to a national audience by a term-limited and ambitious mayor. "I was really speaking to New Orleans and the historical record," Landrieu insisted, adding, "a mayor spoke — and a country listened."
Landrieu goes on to slam President Donald Trump (though never mentioning him by name), saying "I think that the president is wrong often. He is wrong most of the time, because he takes a myopic, narrow view.
"When you make blanket statements that Muslims are dangerous, or refugees will kill you ... or 'cities are bad' — even if there is a kernel of truth about that, it doesn't make the whole thing true."
Regarding the rural vs. urban divide, Landrieu compares America to an iPhone (where pieces and parts are brought in and assembled from all over) and criticizes the GOP Congressional plans to replace the Affordable Care Act. “When all those people in the cities don’t have health care, where are they supposed to go?" he asks. "And how do we provide enough drug treatment centers and emergency rooms, and if you don’t have an answer for that — why are we doing this again?”
As for the presidential question — pushed by the national press — that Landrieu might have his eye on an Oval Office run in 2020, the mayor says, “I’m not planning to run for president, I’m not running for president," though he adds, "I can’t tell you if they offered me the job I wouldn’t take it."
(According to the interviewer, Landrieu also jumped onstage to play the washboard at the conference's end party — recalling the time he did the same thing at the 2014 Jazz Fest
Listen to the whole thing here