Pete Buttigieg Says White Supremacy Is ‘An Issue That Could End The Country’

'That is the only issue that almost ended this country,' he said.

Pete Buttigieg speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

'That is the only issue that almost ended this country,' he said.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg says that White Supremacy is an issue that could very well end the country, noting that the same issue also ended the country once before, Yahoo News reports.

The issue of racism has been in the headlines for the past few days after Donald Trump tweeted that four freshman Democrat Congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — should go back to their “broken” and “crime-infested” countries. Of the four, only one, Omar, was not born in the United States.

Buttigieg, who was campaigning in Iowa over the weekend, spoke with ABC News about the issue of racism. Without mentioning Trump directly, he did state that white supremacy, as an ideal, almost brought about the end of the United States, as it was, as he describes it, the reason for the Civil War.

“That is the only issue that almost ended this country. … We’ve had a lot [of] challenges in this country, but the one that actually almost ended this country in the Civil War was white supremacy,” he said. Then he stated that that form of racism, which has been rearing its head again of late, could come back to make another run at ending the country. “It could be the lurking issue that ends this country in the future, if we don’t wrangle it down in our time.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - JULY 08: The Ku Klux Klan protests on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments. (Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)
  Chet Strange / Getty Images

White supremacy, white nationalism, and other forms of racism have been on the rise since Donald Trump assumed office. As FactCheck reports, the number of white nationalist groups has increased over the past few years, as well is in numbers of adherents. Hate crimes are on the rise, the amount of racist and anti-Semitic propaganda being disseminated is on the rise, and terrorist attacks committed by far-right groups and individuals have increased four-fold.

Trump, for his part, denies that white supremacy and racism are on the rise. Asked directly about it by a reporter, Trump said he believes that “it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

Buttigieg himself has recently found himself in a race-related controversy. Weeks ago, a black man was shot by a white police officer in South Bend. Buttigieg has faced calls from his constituents back in Indiana to fire the officer, but he actually can’t do that: South Bend’s bylaws don’t give the Mayor that power. Rather, only the Board of Public Safety, which is comprised of five civilians appointed by the mayor, can fire or suspend a police officer.