Atlanta mayor: Biden pledged to help US mayors deal with COVID-19, other issues

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during a news conference on May 30, 2020. - Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

ATLANTA — After a virtual meeting on Monday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have pledged more support to the nation’s cities as they grapple with the damage caused by the coronavirus.

That support would come after the new president took office, no matter the party affiliation of the mayor, Bottoms said during a Monday evening interview with CNN.

“(It) was a really what we needed to hear,” she said about the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the incoming president and vice president. “It was a very thoughtful conversation that went on much longer than expected.”

Bottoms said the mayors were “inspired” by the conversations with Biden and Harris.

President Donald Trump has often sparred with Democratic mayors during his years in the White House over multiple issues from coronavirus funding to cities’ handling of violence at protests.

This summer during the height of national protests against police violence, Democratic mayors of several cities, including Bottoms, signed a letter calling on Trump to refrain from deploying federal agents to quell protests. The letter, addressed to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and then acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, noted Trump has threatened to send agents into Seattle, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The mayors of Kansas City; Boston; Philadelphia; Denver; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Seattle; Los Angeles; Oakland, California; San Jose, California; Tucson, Arizona; and Portland, Oregon also signed the letter.

Also, during Monday’s interview, Bottoms expressed concern at the estimated 1 million passengers expected to pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with regard to the potential to spread COVID.

“We are seeing numbers that we have not seen since March,” Bottoms said. “We are doing all that we can to make sure people are protected as they pass through.”

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©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)