Los Angeles mayor says he turned down his job within the Biden administration

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivers a speech at the US Mayors’ Conference winter meeting in Washington

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday he turned down an offer to work in the administration of President-elect Joe Biden so he could focus on the city, which is having record breaking waves of the Coronavirus pandemic to fight.

Garcetti, a Democrat named as a possible candidate for transportation minister in a Biden administration, said he felt he needed to stay as mayor amid rising infections, hospitalizations and deaths in America’s second largest city.

“There were things on the table for me, but I said very clearly to (the Biden administration) … I have to be here now,” Garcetti told reporters during a live streaming press conference from his home. “I want to be here and I have to be here.”

He declined to say whether Biden had offered him a specific position in the new president’s cabinet.

The mayor, who is quarantined at home after his daughter tested positive for COVID-19 infection, said the second largest city in America saw the highest number of cases and deaths on Wednesday

“We expect more bodies than space for them,” said the mayor. “That scares me and it should scare you.”

Garcetti has imposed some of the strictest settlements on Los Angeles in the nation and has voiced criticism from business owners who say his ban on even dining outdoors threatens to put them out of business.

The mayor said during the press conference that despite these strict restrictions, Los Angeles County had more than 5,000 hospitalized people with one COVID death every 15 minutes.

He criticized members of the U.S. Congress for failing to reach an agreement on a stimulus package that would provide relief to Americans who were unemployed or lost their business during the pandemic.

“The leaders in Washington are leaving the firefighters who protect us, the cops,” he said.

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