South Bend, Indiana, mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg said in an interview on Thursday that the Donald Trump administration is radicalizing Americans. While speaking with Vox, the 37-year-old said that the economic anxiety in the country has made “fertile ground” for people to be taken advantage of.
When asked what he thought about the support within the Republican party from people in the interior of the country for Trump, and whether it was driven by economic or racial anxieties, Buttigieg said that the question “misses the mark.”
“[T]he reality is that when people are economically or socially dislocated, they are always more vulnerable to being radicalized. And I think a lot of Americans are being radicalized by this administration,” he told Vox. “The experience of disruption that’s gone on, especially in the interior, has obviously made it more fertile to being taken advantage of by people like this president.”
He added that the work he had done in South Bend had tackled both issues because racial and economic issues go hand-in-hand.
This is not the first time Buttigieg has proposed that Americans are being radicalized by the Trump administration. While speaking with BuzzFeed News‘ AM2DM, he said he wants to work to ensure Americans “are not continuing to be radicalized into violent white nationalism with what seems at best to be a level of negligence if not encouragement from the highest office in the land,” as quoted by The Hill.
He also said that the Trump administration had “given cover” to white nationalists attempting to bring their narrative into the mainstream and that anyone in the White House is complicit in the rise in white nationalism.
Buttigieg’s comments come after Trump has repeatedly faced criticism for failing to condemn actions associated with white nationalism. Most recently, Trump denied that global white nationalism is on the rise after he was asked about it in the wake of the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting. Evidence shows that there is a distinct rise in extremism across the globe, according to Politifact.
In the past few weeks, Pete Buttigieg has become a surprising standout in the crowded 2020 Democratic field.— Vox (@voxdotcom) March 28, 2019
He spoke with Vox about everything from his vision for the economy, to military interventionism, and the role of gender in the 2020 campaign. https://t.co/05r0lU08OF
According to the New York-based Anti-Defamation League, white supremacist incidents have tripled from 2017. Trump’s own Justice Department has released data showing a rise in hate group activity in the U.S. since he took office.
As The Inquisitr reported, Buttigieg, who was once considered one of the underdogs in the 2020 presidential race, has recently been climbing in the polls. He recently reached a high of 4 percent and put him tied with Senator Elizabeth Warren. He has passed other more prominent candidates like Senator Cory Booker and Senator Amy Klobuchar.