Six years into the job of chief executive of the country's sixth-largest city, seemingly overwhelmed by the growing gun violence, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said publicly that he didn't want to be mayor anymore.
Following gunfire at the city's annual July 4th fireworks show on the Ben Franklin Parkway that sent crowds running and left two police officers shot, Kenney went off-script speaking to reporters.
"I’m concerned every single day. There’s not an event or a day where I don’t lay on my back and look at the ceiling and worry about stuff," he said. "So everything we have in the city for the last seven years, I worry about. I don’t enjoy 4th of July. I don’t enjoy the Democratic National Convention. I didn’t enjoy the NFL draft. I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So I’ll be happy when I’m not here, when I’m not mayor and I can enjoy some stuff."
Other city elected officials objected hours later, particularly some of the potential candidates to succeed Kenney as mayor when his term is up in January 2024.
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But by Tuesday afternoon, roughly 12 hours after his "happy when I'm not here" comments, Kenney was in mea culpa mode.
"I just think that was a human emotion, a human expression. Would I say it again there? No. I’m proud to be mayor of the city. I’m happy to be re-elected. We've been through the pandemic, we’ve been through George Floyd murder, we’ve been through the civil unrest, we’ve been through Donald Trump," Kenney said in an interview with NBC10. "We’ve been through everything we’ve been through. And, as a person sometimes, it gets frustrating, and you emote."
He apologized to city residents.
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"I apologize for being frustrated, but I do take my job personally and I take the problems we face personally," he said. And I apologize for wearing my emotions on my sleeve."