Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that President-elect Joe Biden offered him a position in his administration but that he turned it down.
Garcetti made the admission during a media briefing on Thursday about the spike in coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County.
“There were things on the table for me but I said to (the Biden administration) very clearly … I need to be here now,” said Garcetti, without divulging what position Biden had offered him.
There had been speculation that he might be picked to head the Department of Transportation, but the Biden transition team announced Tuesday that former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Peter Buttigieg was to be nominated for that position instead.
Others questioned the timing of his announcement given that earlier on Thursday a judge had ordered Garcetti must testify in a lawsuit against the city by a Los Angeles police officer who accused a former mayoral aide of sexual harassment.
Garcetti also said that he and his wife were in self-quarantine after their 9-year-old daughter tested positive for the coronavirus.
“On Monday while I was at work, my wife called to let us know that our beloved daughter Maya, who turned nine this weekend, wasn’t feeling very well. And after she came down with a fever, we had her tested for COVID-19, and her results came back positive,” said Garcetti.
He went on to say that his daughter’s symptoms were mild and that he and his wife had tested negative.
Garcetti has ordered renewed lockdowns after coronavirus spiked in a second wave in recent weeks. On Thursday California state health officials announced that intensive care units in Southern California were at full capacity, in spite of the fact that Los Angeles has consistently maintained some of the harshest COVID-19 policies in the country.
Some have questioned whether studies can justify such a draconian lockdown order given the negative consequences that will come from shutting down the economy and isolating so many people.