While many people wondered why the president of the United States wasn’t offering any words to calm the unrest over the last week, there was one person who was giving a speech that the whole country should listen to (watch above). Here is part of what Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said:
“This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos. A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn’t do this to our city… If you want change in America, go and register to vote… You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this… We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough remarked:
“I have to say as an Atlantan, I don’t know if I’ve been any more proud then I was… watching the mayor talking about being the mother of four black men, that was extraordinary. That was an extraordinary moment… the mayor was balancing so many different things. I have not seen that type of leadership in crisis in quite some time.”
Her crisis management has certainly been noticed nationwide, as her name is tossed around as a potential vice presidential pick for Joe Biden. This week Rev. Al Sharpton told CBS Atlanta, “Bottoms’ leadership during the pandemic, and her unwavering support for the Democratic nominee, make her standout.”
“You can’t at all question her ability to manage, to be an executive and that’s what a vice president must be prepared to operate. And I might remind you she was one of the first people to endorse Joe Biden. She stood with Joe Biden when it looked like he was going to be dropped out of the race.”
And she hasn’t been afraid to stand up to Donald Trump. Her remarks on the way the president has (or hasn’t) dealt with the fallout over the killing of George Floyd have been noted. Especially this statement:
“He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times you should just be quiet and I wish he would just be quiet.”
Atlanta Mayor @KeishaBottoms says President Trump shouldn’t speak on George Floyd’s death unless he speaks for “unity… and reform.”
Camerota: “Do you think President Trump is capable of making a statement calling for unity?”
Mayor: “I think that he is capable of reading one.” pic.twitter.com/iu1AKXGovk
— New Day (@NewDay) June 1, 2020
And this past week she was one of a handful of mayors who took part in a townhall with Biden about how to address the current crisis.
.@JoeBiden begins a virtual chat with the mayors of Atlanta, Chicago, and LA. "You’ve been incredible," he tells @KeishaBottoms. "Your passion, your composure, your balance has been really incredible."
— Henry J. Gomez (@HenryJGomez) June 1, 2020
Asked during the AP interview what she’d bring to the ticket with Biden, Bottoms, a former judge and City Council member, noted that she’s served in each branch of government, with her executive tenure overlapping with a massive cyberattack on city government’s technology infrastructure and now the coronavirus pandemic.
“You’ve got to have proven leadership that’s been tested in the midst of crisis,” she said.
Another thing she brings to the table is potentially more voters in a key state. While Georgia is squarely a red state, there are some signs that the state is in play this November. A new poll shows that Biden is running neck and neck in the state with Trump. Bottoms could help propel Biden to the top in the Peach State. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility, Bill Clinton won the state back in 1992.
I was on Team Stacey Abrams or Kamala Harris for VP to run with Biden, but I’m ready to get this Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms hype train going.
— Bryan Kennedy (@BKennedyTV) May 31, 2020
Bottoms also appeared today on a CNN town hall in conjunction with Sesame Street.
Atlanta Mayor @KeishaBottoms on talking to her children about racism: “Sometimes I just simply need to listen and let them feel and let them express their emotions. Because I don't have all of the answers.” #CNNSesameStreet https://t.co/yWlgp5vkOW pic.twitter.com/1yNAUaRZ4K
— CNN (@CNN) June 6, 2020