USA TODAY US Edition
‘Orlando is not a local problem’
New Orleans mayor speaks out for cities
In an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, 55, talks about the lessons of the mass shooting in Orlando. Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: You’ve been campaigning for Hillary.
A: I hope very much that she’s elected to be our commander in chief, and I’m willing to work really hard for her.
Q: Some Democrats say Donald Trump can’t possibly win. Could Trump win?
A: Of course he can. I mean, it’s an election. Anything can happen. You can win if you’re in the race. And I think people ignore that at their peril. ... This election has been very unpredictable. Donald Trump didn’t just beat anybody. He beat 16 of the best people the Republican Party could put forward. ... There are all kinds of uncertainties in elections, and you never know what’s going to happen.
Q: Do you assume Donald Trump will carry Louisiana?
A: Oh, he absolutely will win Louisiana.
Q: How has President Obama done on issues affecting cities?
A: I think he’s been pretty good about understanding about what cities need, but he’s been somewhat limited by the institutional structure in Washington that sends everything basically to the governors, number one, and this notion that what cities are doing is local and it’s not national, so the federal government is going to retrench in funding for the things that are going to affect all of us. There’s no better example of that than public safety. ...
I think Orlando — if the nation wasn’t woken up before, needs to wake up now. So me and a number of other mayors have been sending the signal to Washington that you cannot keep cutting Homeland Security funds that came to cities. You can’t keep cutting Department of Justice funds. ... We need better coordination with the FBI, the DEA, the ATF, the U.S. Marshals to make sure we can protect the homeland. ...
If Congress so easily spends money fighting ISIS overseas, helping take back Fallujah, whatever, without thinking about what the cost is, that in terms of securing the nation you have to close the circle and not only protect us overseas but we have to protect ourselves back home, and that is not a local issue. Orlando is not a local problem.”