President-elect Donald Trump told Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti during a phone call Wednesday that he supports Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to a spokesperson for the Mayor. Garcetti reportedly initiated the call.
Garcetti, a Democrat, supported Hillary Clinton for president and was bluntly critical of Republican Trump’s campaign rhetoric and policies during the election run-up.
In August the Mayor expressed concerns over a potential Trump election victory, but later clarified that he was echoing comments he had heard from voting International Olympic Committee (IOC) members.
“I was asked the question and I talked about what I heard from IOC members – I relayed what they said,” Garcetti said.
Concern has been raised by some stakeholders that because Trump’s xenophobic and divisive policies directly conflict with Olympic values and the fundamental vision of “unity in diversity”, some voters may be nudged instead to support rivals Budapest or Paris.
The Mayor added “bids should be outside of politics, so I feel very strongly this transcends it. And I think that no matter who the politicians are, sometimes the Olympic spirit catches them. Whoever happens to be our President then, I think we will engage them.”
On Thursday an LA 2024 spokesperson told GamesBids.com “LA 2024 welcomes President-elect Trump’s support and looks forward to working closely with his Administration to deliver a ‘New Games for a New Era’ that will unify our diverse communities, benefit the Olympic Movement and inspire the world.”
Trump was a supporter of New York’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games that were later awarded to London. He helped by hosting an event on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue in front of Trump Tower when IOC members visited for a site evaluation. The former reality TV star also featured the New York 2012 bid in a season finale project challenge on his popular television show “The Apprentice.”
The President-elect was also a torch-bearer participating in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games torch relay.
Though not necessarily intentional, Trump may give the bid a boost if he, as has been reported, appoints former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as Secretary of State. Romney successfully delivered the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games as CEO of the organization and it would seem appropriate in that diplomatic role to lead LA 2024 bid’s final presentation among those he worked with before.
The final presentation, along with the final IOC vote, will be held September 13 in Lima, Peru.