On Saturday, CNN viewers got to see a pre-recorded interview with the outgoing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in which the failed Democratic leader was allowed to boast about her criticisms of President Donald Trump with very little scrutiny from weekend morning and afternoon CNN Newsroom host Fredricka Whitfield about her failed record that led to her not even bothering to run for a second term.
Never was it mentioned that the murder rate of the city doubled over her four-year tenure (compared to 29 percent nationwide) as she was allowed to gloss over her handling of the aftermath of the police-involving death of Rayshard Brooks.
As part of the interview was shown during the 11:00 a.m. hour m, Whitfield was seen recalling that Bottoms’s “leadership was tested” with several challenges, asking her what her experience “taught you about yourself.”
After the Atlanta Democrat boasted that she is “resilient,” and quoted Maya Angelou and Audre Lorde in tooting her own horn, Whitfield was then seen inviting her to boast about her criticism of President Trump:
And what do you suppose the nation and the city learned about you? Because, as you just mentioned, it didn’t take long before you were recognized not just as a leader of a municipality, but you became a nation’s leader, too. And let’s talk about, you know, particularly, during the Trump administration, he singled you out on several occasions. He singled out cities on several occasions — whether it was about immigration — you took a stand, saying you refuse to house U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement detainees.
After showing a clip of Mayor Bottoms from 2018 complaining about the Trump administration separating illegal immigrant families at the border, Whitfield posed: “And you also stood up to the President when he called Atlanta ‘crime infested,’ as though termites or rodents had infested the city. How did you do that?”
Bottoms responded by bragging that she had confronted a “bully” by speaking out against the Republican President:
Well, I hope that what America saw is that I’m a lot tougher than look. A lot of times, we judge people based on what we see — what we think we know about them. But for leaders across this country, we had to lead in the absence of leadership with Donald Trump, and for someone to come for Atlanta and to disparage Atlanta and the leadership and the people of Atlanta in the way that he did a lot of cities and a lot of countries — a lot of leaders across the country — it wasn’t difficult for me to confront that. And that’s what you do when you are faced with a bully. You confront the bully, and often times, the bully will stand down.
In another part of the interview that was played a couple of hours later, Whitfield brought up the police shooting of Brooks, and, without divulging much detail, asking her Democratic guest if she wishes she had done anything differently.
As Bottoms declared that she did the best she could under the circumstances, a clip of her was shown recalling that the police chief had resigned over the incident in which she also called for the police officer, Garrett Rolfe, who fired the deadly shot be fired.
It was not mentioned that, after his firing, Rolfe’s employment was reinstated, and he sued the mayor for wrongful termination. Mayor Bottoms had even prejudged the officer’s actions by claiming in the aftermath that it was a “murder.” (She similarly rushed to judgment against a couple of cops who confronted and tased two college students a couple of weeks earlier during violent protests.)
Viewers were also not informed that the number of homicides per year in the city rose from 80 in 2017 (the year before Bottoms took office) to 157 in 2020, and more than 150 so far in 2021.
CNN allowing a failed Democratic politician to revise her record was sponsored in part by Walmart. Their contact information is linked.
Transcript is as follows. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN Newsroom with Fredericka Whitfield
December 18, 2021
11:18 a.m. Eastern
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: It also means that your leadership was tested. What do you suppose your leadership role teaches you about — or has taught you about yourself?
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS: (D-ATLANTA): That I’m resilient. Just like our city is resilient, just like our country is resilient. And there are moments when you don’t script, but within you and within all of us, I think it’s really the strength and the courage to face those moments. And I heard Maya Angelou say, “I did then what I knew to do, and when you know better, you do better.” And that’s what the last four years have been about. Can’t say it’s always been perfect leadership, but whatever has come our way — come my way, I’ve done the best that I could in the moment, and — and I’ve learned that I am deliberate and afraid of nothing, as Audrey Lord said.
WHITFIELD: And what do you suppose the nation and the city learned about you? Because, as you just mentioned, it didn’t take long before you were recognized not just as a leader of a municipality, but you became a nation’s leader, too. And let’s talk about, you know, particularly, during the Trump administration, I mean, he singled you out on several occasions. He singled out cities on several occasions — whether it was about immigration — you took a stand, saying you refuse to house U.S. Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement detainees.
BOTTOMS (dated June 21, 2018): As a country, we are better than this. We are better than separating families.
WHITFIELD: And you also stood up to the President when he called Atlanta “crime infested,” as though termites or rodents had infested the city. How did you do that?
BOTTOMS: Well, I — I hope that what America saw is that I’m a lot tougher than I look. A lot of times, we judge people based on what we see — what we think we know about them. But for leaders across this country, we had to lead in the absence of leadership with Donald Trump, and for someone to come for Atlanta and to disparage Atlanta and the leadership and the people of Atlanta in the way that he did a lot of cities and a lot of countries — a lot of leaders across the country — it wasn’t difficult for me to confront that. And that’s what you do when you are faced with a bully. You confront the bully, and often times, the bully will stand down.
WHITFIELD: What guided you through that?
BOTTOMS: I think it is a deep-seated courage that’s probably been a part of who I am for my entire life. Growing up — having the benefit of growing up in Atlanta as a child, an African American child. You see leaders who look like you. And you see people who are doing extraordinary things. So, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t be courageous or that I couldn’t do something extraordinary. Because there are always examples around me, from my teachers to my grandparents, and my parents, to the mayor and the people you saw on television. They were a part of our community. And that’s the beauty of growing up in a city like Atlanta. And I’m so glad that in the same way as a child that I was able to emulate that representation that Atlanta still represents that magic to people across the country.
WHITFIELD: You are the daughter of R&B icon Major Lance and your mom, who is a hair stylist and hair salon owner, Sylvia Robinson. It was really in your DNA, right, to be outspoken, to be prepared. How much do you feel like you were drawing upon the spirit of your parents? As you were enduring so much. I love to, you know, pay homage to our parents because we are all the byproduct of their greatness, right.
WHITFIELD: So, in the case of your parents, how do you feel like you drew some inspiration from them to handle these things?
BOTTOMS: What I saw with my mother and what I saw with the women who were coming to her hair salon were just women who faced everyday challenges but they still made sure that on the outside they looked good. And that they went out and they did the very best that they could do for their families and their communities. And with my dad, in moments that were extremely tough, I would think about what he would say to me. On your worst day, you look in the mirror and you pull it together and you never let them see you sweat. And that often has been what I have had to take with me in leadership. In moments of crisis, when the city and people are looking for leadership, being able to stand in front of them with confidence and say we don’t know what we don’t know, but this is our plan and this is how we’re going to get through it together. So my parents — my mother is still with me thankfully. And my dad’s spirit is always with me. And their representation and just their belief in the possibilities of our city is — I truly believe it is the reason I’m able to serve as mayor.