Jim Gardner One-on-One with Mayor Michael Nutter: Trump, fighting poverty

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Saturday, December 19, 2015
Jim Gardner sat down with Mayor Michael Nutter for a one-on-one at City Hall to talk about the past, present and future.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Mayor Michael Nutter will end his 8-year tenure as Mayor of Philadelphia on Jan. 4, 2016.

Just last week, Nutter engaged in a bit of rancor with Donald Trump.

After Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, Nutter proposed banning Trump from Philadelphia.

And Nutter added an expletive you don't often hear publicly in City Hall.

Trump responded by tweeting that Nutter is a low life.

I asked Nutter to explain the Trump phenomenon.

"There's a lot of disaffection, I believe, in the American public and someone like a Donald Trump comes along with all this bravado and, at times, buffoonery and he's an entertainer," said Nutter. "His whole thing is about insult and in your face and, I mean, it really is like watching a TV show, and if you want entertainment then you should watch a good TV program."

Nutter told me both his proudest achievements and biggest disappointments revolve around crime and education.

But at the end of the day, it's really all about poverty.

"Lifting people out of poverty, making sure that young people have an education and adults have training or re-training to participate in the workforce is the great challenge for this city.

"From an infrastructure standpoint, from an asset standpoint, from an amenity standpoint, transportation network, industry, we have every possible thing that any other city could want.

"The challenge is educating our children, training our adults and helping more people to lift out of the ranks of poverty and into the middle-class. That is our number one challenge going forward. That is an area where as I've been asked a couple times, 'What are you going to do next?'

"My future work here in Philadelphia will have its focus on this issue of poverty and its many elements and components. That's really where I want to spend the bulk of my future time.

"The things that I've learned, the understandings I have, the networks and relationships that I've been a part of for the last eight years, especially as mayor, but 22-plus years as an elected official," said Nutter.

What is the vehicle for that effort?

"To be an announced," said Nutter.

Tell me two things that are going to surprise Jim Kenney during his first three or four months in office.

"On one hand, the campaign really is a good preview, if you will, for the pace that you may have to maintain as mayor, and again he'll decide what his pace is going to be," said Nutter. "My pace is pretty quick."

"He may also ultimately be surprised by the passion of Philadelphians. For whatever reason people in the city do actually believe that the mayor is virtually responsible for everything, can do everything, is in charge of everything, can fix everything.

"And there will be moments when, as I have been, I think he'll be surprised sometimes that you can't do everything and you can't fix everything and, you know, those are the humbling moments when you realize the limitations that you might have," said Nutter.

Watch Jim Gardner's entire interview with Mayor Michael Nutter.