Live

Watch CBSN Live

New Orleans mayor knocks Trump, says election "emboldened" racists

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who's been touted as a potential Democratic candidate for president, says that racists feel "much more emboldened" since President Trump took office. However, he also insists that "not everybody that voted for Donald Trump is a racist." 

Landrieu, who made national headlines when he decided to remove some Confederate monuments in his city, examines the role of race in the United States in his new book, "In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History." He describes the book as neither a criticism of Mr. Trump nor a mantra for Democrats, but rather a way to reckon with racism's ability to shape and influence the country.

"We're better in this country when we're together," he told reporters Thursday at a Bloomberg News breakfast. "Diversity is a strength, it's not a weakness. You come to the table of democracy as equals and that will take us in a much better direction on the spectrum of what your political philosophy might be."

Landrieu, who's also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was elected Mayor of New Orleans in 2010 and is now completing his second term in office. His father was also Mayor of New Orleans from 1970 to 1978.

As for Mr. Trump's legacy, Landrieu says it's still "too early to tell." 

"I can make a judgement about style as an executive -- but chaos is not a governing strategy," he said. "And trying to convince people that it is, is not going to work."

He also sidestepped a question about mayors running for president in 2020, saying "I don't intend to be one of them." But he implied he could change his mind on the matter, although he's "never thought about what it could take to change."

Other mayors who have been mentioned as possible Democratic presidential contenders in 2020 include Los Angeles' Eric Garcetti and New York's Bill de Blasio. 

Landrieu specifically took a shot at Mr. Trump's "impetuous" nature and how that has influenced the Trump administration's rapidly changing cabinet.

"The way government works, if there's nobody in positions, you can't get anything done. That's really, critically important," he said.

When asked what he likes about Mr. Trump, he responded "I'm going to have to think about that." He later followed up that Mr. Trump's sense of humor may sometimes work to his advantage.  

"I do think you can say from a year and a half of Trump being in office, people will reject his form of governing going forward," Landrieu said. "Whether they elect a Democrat or Republican, they are going to demand excellence, they're going to demand a steady hand, they're going to demand non-chaos."

View CBS News In