Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has refused to join the growing Democratic movement to fight Donald Trump at all costs, and he explained why in an illuminating interview with former Barack Obama aide David Axelrod.
In the hourlong interview, which you can catch here, the two-term mayor was unapologetic about his concerns with the so-called ‘resistance’ movement when Axelrod brought up threats from liberal groups to oppose Democrats who side with Trump on any issue.
“The future of politics is performance. Folks elect you to win and deliver for them. People that don’t have a city to govern have a different responsibility than I do,” Reed said, adding: “There is a difference between being the person who is actually governing and those who are agitating for reform.”
Democrats, he said, have to “be the big party with big views. But we’ve also got to respect election results. You have elections and somebody wins, we should respect that process and not keep an eternal fight going on. If your guy wins, run it. Run it how you want. But this deal that we’re in right now – where you lose and I have to act like you won – doesn’t work for me. And I’m not going to be fake. I believe that you have elections for a reason.”
Reed, who was one of the loudest critics of Trump in Georgia politics, earlier told us he won’t advocate a “hostile relationship” with Trump’s administration but instead will take each of the Republican’s policies on a case-by-case basis.
The Axelrod podcast touched on Reed’s background: Why he was named Mohammed despite growing up in a family of devout Methodists. How a meeting with Andrew Young as a 13-year-old changed his life. The fallout with his father over his decision to go to Howard University. And his path to becoming an entertainment attorney and then to political office.
Reed also predicted Trump’s 2020 re-election strategy thusly: “The bet he’s making is that if he’s the king of jobs, nothing else matters.”
And he wagered that Georgia could, depending on the Democratic presidential candidate in three years, be a “dagger in the heart” to Republicans with an investment of at least $25 million.
“The cavalry has never come in Georgia,” he said. “So what Georgia needs is a slow, old-time Boston Celtics offense that walks the ball down the court and sets up a play, and just believes that this can happen.”
Hizzoner minced no words about his goal to run for higher office one day, but again said he was sitting out the 2018 election.
He also offered support for former Acting U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, who became a hero to the left when she defied Trump’s orders to enforce his immigration policy.
“I think my state is going to look better and better. I am thrilled about Sally Yates’ seeming embrace of becoming more and more involved in politics,” he said.
“An individual of her kind and caliber right now … an individual like that on the gubernatorial ballot in ‘18,” he said, trailing off.
Yates has made no indication that she’ll run for governor next year, but two other sometime-Reed rivals are potential Democratic candidates: House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is seen as a certainty to run and former state Sen. Jason Carter hasn’t ruled out another bid.