But first up, he is the mayor
of New Orleans, his new book isIn the Shadow of Statues:
a White Southerner
Confronts History,Mitch Landrieu! -(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
-Hey! -How are you, Mr. Mayor?
-I’m doing great, how are you? Good to see you at home!
We’re happy to have you. As am I. -Welcome to sunny Los Angeles
-It’s great to be here. I hear you’re running
for president. -I am not.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHS) See, I thought I’d just get
right in, and… -I thought I was
gonna trick you.
-That was very clever. -Very clever.
You’re not running, or…?
-I am not. -Shermanesque, or…?
Not running at all?
-(LAUGHS) I’m not running. -How about that?
kinda looks like it! Okay. -(LAUGHS)
-Well, because, it’s about time
we had a mayor… -Have we ever had a mayor–
-Never, never. -Never!
-Never. But mayors are the ones
who are taking care of stuff
in this country, right? They’re the ones who actually
have to respond, because, first of all,
people live in cities. That’s right. 85 percent
of people in America
live in cities. -Is that right? 85 percent. Wow.
Isn’t that something? Actually, mayors…
You know, one of the things that all of the mayors
of America are doing, non-ideologically-based,
they’re practical people,
they get things done. -Right. You have to.
-And that’s because they seek–
Well, this is why. Because they’re
in the carpool line.
They’re in the grocery store. -Right.
-They’re at the cleaners.
And if you do something wrong, somebody pops you, and if you
make a decision, it hits
the ground the next day. And the most innovative things
in the country are happening
in cities, right now. And it’s just very exciting.
It’s a good time to be there, and we’ve got a great crop
of mayors across America
as we speak. Yeah. Our one here wants
to be president. -He sure does. He’s a good guy.
-Yeah. Oh. I think he’s got a shot. -So, you’re supporting him?
-I may be. -(LAUGHS)
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHS) -And then, maybe not.
-I’m gonna keep trying,
you know? You also have a great senator
Kamala Harris is great, too. Yeah, we got– I think
the Democrats have an actual
good bench. I think there will be about 150
people who decide… -Yeah.
-…to try to do
something different. Yes, because–
Well, because a lot of them perceive the current president
as something of a buffoon. -Well, I think they’re right.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHS) -So… Yeah.
-I think they’re right. I think the country feels…
I mean, right now, obviously, the president thinks that
governing in chaos
is a great strategy. -Right.
-I don’t think the rest
of America thinks -that it’s a great strategy.
-Right. -And it’s interesting, because–
-(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) -I mean, you say 85 percent
of people live in cities…
-Yeah. And they will be. …and we are, of course,
a very divided country, and one of the ways
we’re divided is city mouse
versus country mouse, and it does seem like
Donald Trump is never
on the side of the city mouse. -Well, I think that’s–
with the country people. -That’s one way to look at it.
-Which is weird,
because he’s from New York. (LAUGHS) Exactly. That’s one way
to look at it, but the truth is, for people, even,
that live in cities, a lot of people that don’t
live in cities work in them
every day, and a lot of people
in the cities depend on what people
in the rural areas produce, and the people
in the rural areas
depend on jobs in the city. So, on the ground every day,
if people don’t notice this, that we’re actually amongst
each other, living in peace
and harmony, -and actually doing a good job.
-Right. When we talk about
President Trump, we are divided. Yeah. What– Now, he’s going
after sanctuary cities. -Correct.
-What is New Orleans’
status, there? -What is your position
-Well, interestingly enough, “sanctuary cities” was a term
coined by the church, don’t jump out of your seat… -(BILL LAUGHS)
-…you know, to give…
Because I understand, -we can talk about that later.
-Okay. But– To give comfort to those
that were in need of aid
and afflicted. President Trump has now
turned it into a weapon… that follows his theory that
all Mexicans are rapists, is that when cities are open
and welcoming places, somehow,
they’re harboring criminals, which could not be anything
further from the truth. So, mayors across America,
and police chiefs, have tried to communicate
to the attorney general,
to the president, that actually,
they have it backwards. You see, when a police officer
at a rape victim’s house, and the first thing
they ask them is not,
“How are you?” but, like, “What is your
immigration status?” generally, what happens is
the rapist goes free. And so, what mayors
across America are saying, which is that,
“Our number-one priority is
to protect the people, irrespective of their
immigration status.” And so, what we need to do
is we have to fight criminals
where they are, and not get confused
that because people are not
from here, they might be more prone
to crime than anywhere else. -And, of course–
-(APPLAUSE) It goes… It follows right into
the entire gun violence issue
that we’re having in America, which is catastrophic
for us all, and mayors in America are
saying, “We know how to protect
the streets of America. We need police officers
that are properly trained, we need police officers that
understand community policing, -we need–” I’m sorry?
-Are they? Because… Are police officers
properly trained? Because we had
another shooting– No, I said, “We need
police officers who are
properly trained.” -I know, and I’m asking
if they are.
-Right. Well– -Because we saw
in Sacramento, here–
-Just the other day. -Yeah. Another–
-That was a terrible episode. -A terrible episode that we’ve
seen many times before.
-Correct. And I just want to know
what you think about…Is the approach of the police
correct to begin with?Because it seems like this
emptying the whole clip,
20 shots, into somebody… -Right.
-…who you’re not sure of
what they did, what they have, -is crazy.
-Right. And I’ve never heard of…
I’m not saying every policeman
would do that, but I’ve never heard a policeman
say anything but, “I defend
my fellow officers doing that.” -Well, let me speak to that–
-And it seems to me, at best,
this is a horrible way to train police to do their job. Let me put it in context
for you, because the city
of New Orleans, my city, on the first day that I came
in to office, invited the Justice Department
to come in, and we are operating under
one of the most intense
consent decrees to hire the right people,
supervise in the right way,
train them the correct way, and actually begin to work
with them on appropriate
use of force. Everybody knows,
we don’t have to say this, most police officers are
really good folks that try
to do the right thing. There are police officers
that have been poorly hired
and poorly trained, and we’re retraining our
police departments as we speak. So, for example,
in New Orleans now, every one of our police officers
has a body camera on them. When there is
a police-involved shooting, as soon as that happens,
the scene gets shut down, we have what’s called
an independent police monitor
that goes out to the scene, we have a team of investigators
with the FBI embedded, we have, now, the practice
of releasing the tapes early.
So now, everything’s on tape, -and if it is a shoot that is
in excessive force…
-But– -…the police officer is
disciplined and goes to jail.
-But I guess I’m asking a more basic question. It seems like
the police have this idea in their head that it should be
a completely no-risk operation, -and we know it is
a job with risk.
-Right. -By the way, they do keep
statistics on this stuff.
-Correct. A policeman is the 14th-ranked
risky job in America. -Correct. Correct.
-It’s not the most risky job. -Well, we have had episodes–
-But they seem to have this idea
that, “If I feel my life is threatened in any way,
I have the right to just
take you out.” -Correct. That is–
-This guy was a thief. I don’t think he deserved
to be executed. Most police chiefs
in America will tell you that
that is wrong, and that now, we’re training
police officers not to do that, to be discerning,
to be very thoughtful. We have had a lot of episodes
where police officers have been
killed, as well. And so, it’s a really
but in New Orleans… I think you’re doing it
in Los Angeles. There are a number of other
cities that I can’t remember
that are under consent decree, where we’re retraining
our officers to make sure that they understand exactly
when force is necessary
and when it’s not, and now there are consequences
to that. And so, they’re getting better.
We have a long way to go. -Okay.
-The issue in Sacramento
will play itself out. We will investigate that,
find out what
the circumstances are, and hopefully, they’ll make
the right determination
about it. All right. So, let’s talk
about guns, now. -Yeah.
-Because that’s certainly– I mean, when you’re a policeman
in this country… (LAUGHS) -…you have to figure that
into the equation.
-You have to be worried -about it every day.
-Right. And tomorrow is
the big march… -Yeah.
-…that came out
of the Parkland shooting. Were you… Now, I’ve been
critical of Democrats for always starting
the argument with, -“Well, I’m a big supporter
of the Second Amendment…”
-Well, I’ll end it there. -You are?
-No, no, let me… -Okay.
-Let me articulate it for you
first… -Yeah, please.
-…because I’m from the South. All right. First of all,
I’m a lawyer, and I believe
in the Constitution. Written throughout
the Constitution is a tension between giving
people’s rights, but we always forget that
there’s always a responsibility
that attaches to that. And you can be
for the Second Amendment, in other words, you can
acknowledge an individual’s
right to own a gun to hunt
and to protect themselves, but you can also be in favor
of thoughtful, responsible
gun ownership. I’ll give you a phrase
that I think everybody
in America’s gotta agree with. -Right.
-Not every American needs
any kind of gun at any time
to do whatever they want. -And so, as a consequence…
-Right. (LAUGHS) Yeah. -Right? I mean, it’s not hard!
-It’s a good way to put it.
Yeah, no, I mean… -(APPLAUSE)
-So, as a consequence,
it’s not unreasonable– -You could run on that.
-Yes, I could. -If you were running,
which you’re, of course, not.
-If I was, but I’m not. (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) So, there’s–
It is not unreasonable, and it’s not
an unreasonable restriction on
a Second Amendment right, to have universal
background checks, or to outlaw weapons of war,
or to have waiting periods, or to outlaw bump stocks.
That’s not unreasonable. As a matter of fact,
the NRA used to
kinda hang around that area. Now they’ve gone
to the extreme. But let me just give you
a number. This will shock you,
but it’s true, you can test it. Since 1980, less than 38 years
in this country,
630,000 American citizens have been killed
on the streets of America. -On the streets?
-On the streets of America.
All right? -That doesn’t include suicide?
-Well, no, it does, as well,
but that’s in homes. -Okay.
-So, with gun violence. That’s more people than soldiers
that have been killed in all
the wars of the 20th Century. So, when people say something
really simple that they want
you to accept, like, “Guns don’t kill people,”
you just have to stop there and say,
“Well, no, actually, they do.” They were created to kill,
and sometimes they kill animals, -sometimes they kill people.
-And then you can say, “Well, if we can’t agree
on that, we can agree on this, that people actually use guns
to kill people. That’s true. But you can’t say that guns
don’t kill.” And I think reasonable
gun restrictions make
a lot of sense, and I think, if you poll it,
if Congress really cared
about this, most of the people in America
believe in people having
a right to own a gun, but demand responsible
gun ownership, and it seems to me that we can
get there. And these kids are gonna
demonstrate to us, once again, what we adults ought to be
as we go forward. -(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
-Okay, last question,
and then I’ll let you go. Uh… (CHUCKLES) Your book is about taking down
the statues, the Confederate statues
in your city. -I know you took a lot of heat
from certain factions.
-I did. I did. Um… What has been
the upshot, and if… -Say a mayor did that,
and was running for president.
-Let’s just say. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHS)
-Or not. -How– No, not you!
-No, not me! -I’m saying a hypothetical.
-Yeah. -Asking for a friend.
-Of course. Just between
me and you. (LAUGHS) How would… (LAUGHS) -How would that issue,
do you think, play out?
-Well, the truth– -Considering what you did?
-The book is… It uses
the prism of the statues, -which is really about race
-Right. And it’s pretty simple.
We need to stop judging people based on their race, creed,
nation of origin, and do what Americans always do,
or what we’re supposed to do,
aspirationally, is judge people based
on their behavior. See, that’s a really
and we haven’t done that. And the book also talks
about the speech that I gave that’s called “The Truth,”
which is like, “Quit saying that the Civil War
was not about slavery,” or, “Quit saying that
the Civil War was some kind
of noble cause.” You see, it wasn’t. The Civil War was fought
to destroy the United States
of America, not to put it back together. It was fought over the cause
of slavery. -Right.
-And for some reason, we have a difficult time
dealing with that issue. So, when somebody says
something like, “I wanna make America
great, again,” it’s the “comma, again,”
that causes a problem… -Right.
-…for people. And if you
listen to African Americans, sixty percent of which
run the city of New Orleans, they say, “That ‘again’ thing
really bothers me.” You see, that’s a dog whistle… -Right.
-…about where we wanna
go back to. -Right.
-When do we wanna go back to? -Where were you back in 1950,
and how was it for you?
-Right. Yeah. -It wasn’t great for everybody.
-Right. And so, that notion
of racial reconciliation
is critically important, but essentially, it spans across
the issue of immigration, guns and violence… I mean,
everything that you talk about. Who lives in cities
and who doesn’t. “Let’s not go
to the urban center.” -Can you hear it?
-Yes. -Okay, good, you heard
that dog whistle.
-We’ve heard it for years. And so, the issue was
to confront the issue
of race in America, because we are a nation
that believes that everybody
ought to have a shot. All right. -I think you ought
to have a shot!
-(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) -You ought to have a shot.
-I think you’d make
a fantastic non-candidate, -but you do what you wanna do.
-(LAUGHS) Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Thank you, Mitch.