New Orleans mayor to skip White House meeting: I can't go 'under false pretenses'

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), the president of the United States Conference of Mayors, said he will not attend a meeting Wednesday with mayors at the White House.

Landrieu said during a press conference with other mayors that he is not able to attend a meeting "under false pretenses."

The Democratic mayor said he had originally planned on attending, and said others who were invited had also planned to go.


"We had been in communication with some of the White House staffers about having a constructive meeting this afternoon," he said.

But Landrieu said he "cannot in good conscience as president of the Unites States Conference of Mayors go to a meeting under false pretenses to talk about infrastructure."

"I don't think that that would send the right message and as I said, an attack on one of our cities ... is an attack on all of us, so I will not be attending the meeting," he added.

Landrieu pointed to a Justice Department (DOJ) letter sent Wednesday that requested documents from nearly two dozen jurisdictions to show if local law enforcement is sharing information with federal immigration authorities, with the DOJ threatening to issue subpoenas if jurisdictions fail to cooperate.

So-called sanctuary cities, which limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, have increasingly come under fire since President Trump took office.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsManchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' Ocasio-Cortez targets Manchin over Haaland confirmation MORE in a statement Wednesday urged all of the jurisdictions targeted to "reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk."

Landrieu said that it's "perfectly acceptable" for individual mayors to attend the meeting Wednesday at the White House, but he blasted the Trump administration's continued moves against sanctuary cities in explaining his decision to skip the event.

"The Trump administration's decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again — and use cities as political props in the process — has made this meeting untenable," Landrieu said in a statement.

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors is proud to be a bipartisan organization. But an attack on mayors who lead welcoming cities is an attack on everyone in the conference."

He said that when Trump is "prepared to engage in an honest conversation about the future of our shared constituencies, we will be honored to join him."

"Until that time, mayors of both parties will work together to keep our cities safe, hold this administration accountable to its promises, and protect immigrant communities — with or without Washington's help," he said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced later Wednesday that he also would not attend the meeting with Trump. 

"I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities," de Blasio tweeted. "It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values."

--This report was updated at 2:19 p.m.