Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti -- who had considered running for president in 2020 -- said Donald Trump "walked away from his duty to the country" on Wednesday after the president stormed out of an infrastructure meeting with congressional leaders at the White House.
"He walked away from this country’s crumbling communities, and he walked away from the American people," Garcetti told a crowd a few blocks away at the Center for American Progress Ideas Conference. "Donald Trump showed that he still can’t get construction projects done."
Earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emerged from a Capitol Hill meeting with her Democratic caucus and accused the president of engaging in "a cover-up" in the face of congressional investigations into his presidency, businesses and personal finances. Trump erupted, according to news reports, and refused to shake any hands when he arrived an hour later at his meeting with Pelosi and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The president then left the meeting after just three minutes.
"I don’t do cover-ups," he told reporters in the Rose Garden minutes later, still fuming and condemning what he routinely calls the "witch hunt" against him.
Trump said he told Pelosi and Schumer, "'I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at that -- that’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances, so get these phony investigations over with.'"
The day ended with the prospects of a federal infrastructure bill looking dimmer than ever.
Given this setback, Garcetti urged the progressive crowd at the conference to continue investing in infrastructure locally and for the Democratic Party to create a new national strategy on this issue for the next 50 years. The mayor suggested that a focus on infrastructure, which impacts everyone, could pay Democrats political dividends in the 2020 presidential election.
"It’s about whether you get so see your child on time because the commute is lessened," he said. "It’s about your dating pool because [of] where you can live and how far you can go out on a date. It’s about the human experience that infrastructure enables."