Pete Buttigieg is taking aim at Donald Trump’s supporters, saying that those willing to cast a ballot for the president in 2020 are “looking the other way on racism.”
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor has been vocal in calling out what he sees as racism from the president, and on Sunday said that anyone still supporting Trump is willing to overlook it. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Buttigieg was reminded of how he said two weeks ago that he believes Trump is a white nationalist and was asked if he believes that anyone who casts a ballot for Trump is racist as well.
Buttigieg was not willing to go that far, but said those who still support Trump are willing to fall for his threats about the economy.
“Well at best it means looking the other way on racism,” Buttigieg said, via Salon. He added, “I mean you look at what he said in that rally: ‘You’ve got no choice but to vote for me.’ And if you look at the numbers, basically what he’s saying is: ‘All right I want you to look the other way on the racism, tolerate the negativity, accept the instability of my administration, because I am going to deliver for you job growth almost as good as the [President Barack] Obama years.’ That’s what his argument amounts to right now and it’s part of the reason why he’s unpopular.”
Buttigieg joined a number of other 2020 Democratic hopefuls in explicitly calling out what they see as racism from Donald Trump in the form of a string of controversial statements. This includes his tweet telling a group of four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their “original” countries, even though three of them were born in the United States and the fourth is a naturalized citizen who emigrated from Somalia.
Joe Biden has pointed out the rise in white supremacist extremist violence, and Elizabeth Warren has also explicitly called Donald Trump a racist.
Tapper: "Do you think that it's a racist act to cast a vote for President Trump in 2020?"
Pete Buttigieg: "Well, at best it means looking the other way on racism. But I think a lot of people are wondering what kind of deal even that is supposed to be."
Via CNN pic.twitter.com/64jZkdEJra
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 18, 2019
Trump’s racially charged statements again came under scrutiny after a pair of mass shootings occurred within 13 hours of each other earlier this month, including one that appeared to be motivated by white supremacist extremism. Critics say that Trump has enabled this extremism through his refusal to condemn white supremacist acts of violence and by using racially charged language against critics of color.
The words of a president matter. Hateful rhetoric and white nationalism have no place in our nation. https://t.co/BaBW0SvB5c
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2019
Donald Trump did explicitly name white supremacy as a threat in public remarks after the mass shootings.