No mayor has ever been elected president, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti hopes that someone – even if it’s not him – makes the jump from city hall to the White House.
“I hope, even if I never did, that we have mayors that run for president because they are ready,” Garcetti told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
Garcetti argued that the notion that mayors are ill-prepared for the job of running the country is unfounded. He touted fellow mayors – and 2020 prospects – New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as worthy candidates for higher office.
Garcetti also noted his own achievements as leader of one of the nation’s largest cities.
“This is bigger than 23 states. If I was governor of any of those 23 states, I don’t think people would dismiss that,” Garcetti said. “We run a port, an airport, municipal utility – not through authorities but direct – and I chair a transportation authority that’s 10 million people, which is bigger I think than 43 or 45 states. So it’s not a question of whether mayors could.”
“People want results, and people want people who have produced results,” he added.
Garcetti, who has maintained an active travel schedule and started a think tank, has fueled speculation about a presidential run.
However, when pressed by Axelrod about his future plans, he was noncommittal, saying he subscribes to the notion that “you better just do good work and stop thinking about your own future, and the next step will take care of itself.”
“I’m more interested in getting a couple hundred billion dollars of infrastructure passed through local city referenda, quite frankly, than what comes next in my political career,” he said. “If we do that, that’s the kind of legacy to leave behind,” he added.
Still, Garcetti acknowledged that “eyes wide open, it’s important to prepare for the future.”
“But what America needs right now is some stitching together, some repair and some way that we can take local communities and help them,” Garcetti said.