Two months ago, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a passionate speech about race and history in the United States as his city removed the last of its confederate monuments. The speech went viral, catapulting Landrieu into the national spotlight and into the realm of speculation about a potential run for president.
Although Landrieu says he currently has no such intentions, he isn’t ruling the possibility out.
“The answer to the question is I’m not running for president,” Landrieu told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN. “You’d never rule out running [for] anything, you never say never about anything, but I’m not running.”
Landrieu says that he believes it is much too early for anyone to be posturing for 2020, and that the nation would be better served by giving the current president a chance rather than looking for the next one.
“President Trump has only been in office for six months. It’s in everybody’s best interest for him to succeed and for him to do well,” he said. “Starting a presidential race for anybody at this time under any circumstances is ill-advised.”
Landrieu also told Axelrod that he doesn’t believe that a Trump defeat in the next election is a given.
“He did get elected president, you know, in a very very tough race,” Landrieu said. “He has, as you know, a raw political instinct that not every politician that you’ve worked for has. He connects with people in a way that a lot of other folks don’t understand, but he evidently connects and he connects in such a strong way that it doesn’t matter what he does.”
However, Landrieu says that this connection was at least partly based upon tapping into voters’ fears and frustrations and taking advantage of national divisions. Now that Trump is President, Landrieu seems to suggest that he would be better served by advancing unity and reconciliation.
“I think there are people who think driving differences helps them. Those generally are people that believe in 50% plus one, might is right view of the world,” Landrieu said. “I think President Trump is one of those people.”
“I do think that politicians in this country have a special obligation to step up and to choose because I think reconciliation and finding common ground is a choice. It’s not something that you can get forced into now,” he continued. “And some guys think they win by separating. I think we win when we’re together.”