Transcript: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on "Face the Nation," August 23, 2020

LA mayor accuses Trump of "killing Americans"
LA mayor accuses Trump of "killing Americans"... 05:56

The following is a transcript of an interview with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that aired Sunday, August 23, 2020, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to go now to national co-chair for the Biden campaign, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Good morning to you.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: Great to be with you, MARGARET, thank you for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to start on the issue of voting, because your state was specifically mentioned there by Ronna McDaniel as having increased mail-in ballots during the pandemic. During the March presidential primary, more than 100,000 mail-in ballots were rejected by election officials, according to data that had been gathered by the AP. Given that experience, doesn't that indicate that there are some significant gaps in terms of your state's election integrity?

MAYOR GARCETTI: A democracy is not an easy thing, MARGARET, of course, but I have a very deep confidence in our secretary of state, Alex Padilla, in our counties, to be able to run elections and to run them well. And the difference is that we're trying to run elections that expand democracy, that give the vote to everybody where we see a war on voters in other states run by Republicans who literally want to take people off the ballot, take them off the election rolls, you know, a period here, a different- a middle initial. We saw it happen with Stacey Abrams in Georgia. She would be governor today--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Ronna McDaniel is saying that you're adding people. 

MAYOR GARCETTI: And it's kind of ironic that Republicans- No, we are making sure that every American in California who can vote will vote. That is, I think, what a democracy is about. Why we make it so difficult for Americans to vote seems to be anti-democratic with a small "D." And so we're going to make sure that we have not only safe and secure elections, but a paper trail as well, something I think all folks from both the right and left have called for for years. I simply don't understand why this president fears this. It's probably because he knows he's going to lose. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: On the issue of the economy, that is one area where President Trump still seems to have better poll results than candidate Biden does in terms of perception of who would be better for it. Joe Biden said a lot of things in his address this week, but he gave virtually no detail on his economic plans and no detailed criticism of President Trump's either. Isn't that a mistake?

MAYOR GARCETTI: Well, I- I know here's the- the facts, MARGARET, Democratic presidents have added 60 million jobs to America, Republican ones, 23 million in the last few decades. You want to see the stock market do better, the GDP over-perform, that's always been under a Democratic president and not a Republican one. And we're very proud of the plans that we have to not only bring back jobs, manufacturing-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But isn't the slogan "Build back better"? Wouldn't you need to, if that's your slogan, explain how you're going to do it? Joe Biden mentioned the economy four times. Economic was a phrase used four times, mentions five million jobs, but didn't say how he was going to do it. Why not emphasize that? 

MAYOR GARCETTI: We have been talking until we're blue in the face about the most progressive and most expansive economic plan that we will see in our, I think in our lifetimes in America. Build back better has four different planks to it. One is to invest in infrastructure, in a new green energy economy and careers throughout America. Two is manufacturing back in America, unlike this president who said he'd bring jobs back but has been offshoring federal contracts to foreign companies since he has been president. We'll build back everywhere in America. And third, the care economy. So many Americans- and it's such a contrast in these campaigns, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris are about what we can do to care for one another, whether it's our kids right now in child care or whether it's our seniors at the end of their lifetime. And then something that's usually a peripheral issue, racial justice is a core part, the fourth pillar of that plan. So we have detailed that you go to President Trump's website, just like when he ran last time, there's two or three things on the economy and that's it. It was build a wall. It was get rid of immigrants. He has no plan. And he's killing Americans right now and killing our economy. I think it's such a contrast between two people who have a heart and experience what this country needs, and a man who has neither. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Killing Americans is a strong phrase there. I'm going to ask you about what's happening with Covid-19 in your own city. You told CNN last month that it is becoming much more of a Latino disease. Why is it still such an issue that people of color in your city are disproportionately affected?

MAYOR GARCETTI: Well, a couple of statistics, what our lowest hospitalization rate since this has been recorded, we're at a positivity rate now that's about six percent. So we're really, I think, making huge progress and proud of that. But we're being left on our own. We're the first city in America to cut, I think, the African-American deaths, which were double throughout the country to under the population here. But for the Latino population, which I'm a part of and I come from, I think there's a couple of things. One is you had federal assistance that didn't go to many immigrants and to their families who could be married to or the child of an immigrant. And you didn't get the same money your fellow American citizens did. So they're being pushed to work more. They don't have access to the unemployment. They don't have as much of the kind of social network right now that we need. But we're making huge inroads, including in the Latino community right now. But this is something where you saw this president plant a seed when he ran for president, demonizing folks who are Latino, saying Mexican Americans were murderers and rapists and maybe there was a few good ones. This stuff has ramifications because it washes through a government that thinks it doesn't have to serve cities, doesn't have to serve Latinos. And we're seeing those numbers rise.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. I want to talk about your management, though, in your city. You made an interesting choice this week. You actually shut off the power at a Hollywood home after they were hosting large parties there because it wasn't abiding by your regulations regarding the pandemic. How many other houses are you going to shut off the utilities at? Why aren't people listening to you?

MAYOR GARCETTI: People are listening, they're far and few between our numbers are coming down, but where people don't listen, we're going to shut them down. That's critically important. This is not a time to be spreading this disease, especially younger people. And by the way, I want to thank all the young people who said shut it down because they saw their peers acting irresponsibly. At super spreader events 10 percent of people, MARGARET, usually are responsible for about 80 percent of the cases. And we're just not playing here. We are not going to let people take our lives into their hands so they're shut down.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor Garcetti, thank you for your time.