Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wants his sit-down with Donald Trump. So he used the president-elect’s favorite method of communication: Twitter.
While most of us were preparing for Christmas about two weeks ago, Kenney was asking Trump for a meeting. In a note few noticed given the holiday, Kenney tweeted at the president-elect at 7:36 p.m. Christmas Eve, “Congratulations, President Elect Trump. Can I get with you sometime? Would love to see the TTower in person. #Makeitwork!”
(The catchphrase “Make it work” is often used by Tim Gunn on the TV show “Project Runway.”)
Kenney’s spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the tweet “was just Mayor Kenney’s way of starting a dialogue that many progressive mayors are already having.” She added that the administration will pursue reaching out to Trump “through more official channels as well to ensure Philadelphia’s interests are protected under the new administration.”
“The reality is that all mayors will have no choice but to interact with the President-elect’s administration,” she wrote in an email, “especially if we want to preserve so many of the policies that Mayor Kenney and other cities have worked hard to implement, including reducing over incarceration and establishing community-based policing.”
Other self-described progressive, big-city mayors have met with Trump, including Chicago Mayor (and former President Obama chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Kenney’s request for a meeting with Trump is the most dramatic reversal from the mayor’s previous stances on the president-elect. Before the election, Kenney called Trump an “oompa loompa” and a “weirdo perv.” Trump, in September, said Kenney was doing “a terrible job.”
But after the election the mayor’s tone changed. In a speech the next day, Kenney said he was looked forward to finding common ground with Trump.
“During the campaign, there were some pretty harsh things said by all sides,” Hitt told Billy Penn via email in November, “and we believe, in accordance with the President-elect’s acceptance speech, that all sides are ready to move on from the vitriol of the campaign.”
Kenney’s meeting request comes at a time when John Dougherty, the influential labor leader who helped him get elected, has also pushed for better relations with Trump. In a letter sent to members of IBEW Local 98, Dougherty wrote, “Although we were all disappointed that our endorsed candidate didn’t win, we will work well with the Trump administration. In fact, we will look forward to working with the Trump administration. In fact, we look forward to working with the Trump administration on issues like infrastructure, energy and undocumented workers.”