Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti acknowledged Thursday night that he would not serve in the Biden administration, defusing the longstanding assumption that he would be rewarded for his support of the president-elect.
Garcetti said he had turned down an unspecified administration post — asserting that “Joe Biden has told me for the last two years that he was very interested in me coming to Washington, D.C., and there were things on the table for me” — and said he would instead remain mayor of California’s largest city.
“As the administration reached out to me about serving, I let them know early this week that my city needs me now, and then I want to be here and that I need to be here,” Garcetti said.
The announcement served as a stunning coda to Garcetti’s long alliance with the Biden campaign. The Democratic mayor has been an unswervingly loyal Biden surrogate, serving as Biden’s campaign co-chair and breaking with most elected California Democrats by not endorsing Sen. Kamala Harris’ run at the time.
In the weeks since Biden’s win, Garcetti had been rumored to be in the running to be transportation secretary or a climate policy envoy. But as Biden has filled out his cabinet, Garcetti has repeatedly not gotten the call.
Long seen as a promising rising star in California, Garcetti has more recently navigated intensifying criticism in his home city. Activists aligned with Black Lives Matter have protested daily outside his residence to object to a potential administration role, pointing to law enforcement’s heavy-handed management of racial justice protests this summer. A growing public corruption investigation has cast a pall over Los Angeles politics, and a deepening homelessness crisis has tested Garcetti’s staying power.
And sexual misconduct allegations against Garcetti’s top political Rick Jacobs threaten to ensnare the mayor, with a judge ordering Garcetti on Thursday to be deposed as part of a lawsuit by Garcetti’s longtime bodyguard, who has alleged that Jacobs harassed him.
Before becoming one of Biden’s most prominent supporters, Garcetti had weighed a White House run of his own. But he bowed out in the Democratic nominating contest’s early phases, citing pressing local issues.
Garcetti, 49, will have to spend at least the next year responding to the pain and havoc that the pandemic has caused in Los Angeles. The region is among the hardest hit areas in the state and has continued to set new daily infection and death records this month. Business owners have suffered closures in Los Angeles longer than in other areas of the state, and restaurateurs have been particularly frustrated that they cannot serve patrons.
Meanwhile, the nation’s second largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, has struggled to provide services to its predominantly…
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