News and Commentary

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Former VP Contender, Turns Down Team Biden Offer
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during 2019 Beloved Benefit at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, 50, who drew attention for participating in summer protests, calling out looters, and enacting strong COVID-19 policies, declined an offer to serve in a Joe Biden administration, according to a statement from her office.

“Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was honored to have been offered a role in the Cabinet, which she respectfully declined,” Rashad Taylor, a senior advisor to Bottoms, told AJC. “The Mayor’s focus remains on the people of Atlanta and the great state of Georgia.”

“Out of respect for the process, and the other candidates under consideration, no additional comment will be forthcoming on this matter at this time,” said Taylor.

New Yorker staff writer Charles Bethea reported Friday that Bottoms had been offered the position of ambassador to the Bahamas, but Taylor denied the claim. The Biden transition team also denied offering an ambassadorship, reports The Washington Post.

It’s not clear what position Bottoms was offered, but she has been floated as a candidate for several cabinet-level positions, including the Small Business Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to The Washington Post.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), who served as housing secretary in the Clinton administration, and who later went on to become attorney general of New York, and is now reportedly one of several people under consideration to lead the Justice Department.

Bottoms endorsed Biden for president back in 2019, the day after Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) attacked him for his opposition to forced bussing in the 1970s, and for working alongside segregationists while in the U.S. Senate to pass legislation.

Then in June 2020, reports emerged that the Biden campaign was vetting Bottoms to join Biden on the Democratic ticket, a move that coincided with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), once among Biden’s presumptive top picks, falling out of favor. The senior Minnesota senator withdrew her name from the list of vice presidential hopefuls about a week later, and said she believed it was time to “put a woman of color on that ticket.”

In July, Bottoms again made headlines when she said she wasn’t concerned about enacting a mask mandate, despite Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s (R) legal opposition to cities passing their own mask mandates. (Kemp still encouraged people to voluntarily wear masks while out in public, except when eating, drinking or exercising).

“I love to quote Audre Lorde,” said Bottoms, in reference to the 20th-century American feminist and writer. “She says, ‘I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.’ I am not afraid of the city being sued and I will put our policies up against anyone’s, any day of the week.”

Kemp filed a lawsuit against Atlanta and other Georgia cities later that day, but the lawsuit was dropped about a month later, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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