LOS ANGELES (CN) – Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that if elected president in 2020 he’ll call on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to help restore U.S. support for the international climate agreement signed in Paris in 2016.
Speaking at the United Firefighters of LA, Biden touted his longstanding relationship with Garcetti, noting that he previously supported the mayor’s plan to boost the city’s minimum wage and his support for a plan to make California community colleges free.
“Eric Garcetti is setting the example for mayors across the United States,” Biden said of the mayor, who announced Thursday he’s endorsing the former vice president in the 2020 race. “I can’t think of a more talented public official than this mayor.”
The former Delaware senator said he would call on Garcetti for help in tackling climate change, adding that his presidential platform would include creating high-paying jobs in the sustainable energy sector.
This past October, Garcetti was elected chair of a network of the world’s largest cities that are combating climate change. He has also slammed the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.
Biden said he called Garcetti with a consolation message after the mayor decided not to make a run for the White House last year.
“I told him, ‘I’m happy you’re not running, because you might beat me,’” Biden said. “But I also told him, ‘I’m sad you’re not running because you’re thoroughly qualified to be president.’”
Garcetti, who announced his endorsement Thursday, told reporters Biden is the right candidate to solve the nation’s problems and restore the country’s status on the international stage.
“He is the right leader at the right moment,” Garcetti said. “This is progressivism in action.”
In remarks in Spanish, Garcetti said the 2020 election would be the most important of people’s lives.
“Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are,” Garcetti said. “Now we have to walk with [Biden].”
Biden is a front-runner in the race to secure the Democratic nomination for the 2020 election but has trailed behind Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in polls of California voters.
Though Biden already counts on support from prominent California leaders, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, an endorsement from Garcetti – a young mayor with established national and international ties – could provide a boost to his California campaign.
Biden’s campaign said in a statement that Garcetti has been named a national co-chair of the Biden for President campaign.
Biden will hold several fundraisers throughout Southern California before campaigning in Nevada, his campaign said.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia also endorsed Biden on Thursday shortly before accompanying him on a tour of the Gerald Desmond Bridge project, a revamp of a critical trade corridor for the Port of Long Beach.
Garcia’s office said in a statement bridge construction cost an estimated $1.3 billion and generated roughly 3,000 construction jobs.
Garcia had previously endorsed California Sen. Kamala Harris before she dropped out of the presidential race last year.