Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has been critical of plans offered by fellow candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. In particular, Buttigieg has taken aim at Sanders’ free college proposal, as well as his Medicare for All bill. However, it appears that Buttigieg was not always opposed to Sanders’s ideals. A resurfaced, award-winning essay that Buttigieg wrote in high school has revealed his previous feelings about the Vermont Senator, Newsweek reported.
The essay — republished by Jacobin — was written for John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest during Buttigieg’s senior year at St. Joseph High School in South Bend. According to Charles U. Daly, the Kennedy Library Foundation’s executive director at the time, the contest was aimed at helping students understand the “importance of public service,” as well as the “difficult choices” that the world’s politicians face.
Buttigieg used his essay to highlight what he believed was Sanders’ unique political voice. He noted the “cynical candidates” that “outgrow their convictions” in the pursuit of power, contrasting their qualities with those of the now-78-year-old politician.
“Fortunately for the political process, there remain a number of committed individuals who are steadfast enough in their beliefs to run for office to benefit their fellow Americans,” Buttigieg wrote, noting that these people sacrifice “political and personal comfort and convenience” in the name of making a difference.
“One outstanding and inspiring example of such integrity is the country’s only independent congressman, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.”
Buttigieg praised Sanders’ approach to difficult issues and said that Sanders’ “real impact” is how he addresses the cynical political climate. Buttigieg suggested that — at the time — this climate “threatened” the effectiveness of the democratic system.”
“His energy, candor, conviction, and ability to bring people together stand against the current of opportunism, moral compromise, and partisanship which runs rampant on the American political scene,” Buttigieg wrote, praising Sanders for his purported ability to bring leadership and principle back to Congress.
Buttigieg’s past feelings on Sanders have been noted before. Sanders’ speechwriter, David Sirota, previously contrasted the 37-year-old politician’s essay with his recent comments that people disaffected with the United States economy could be pushed into supporting either Sanders or Trump. The comparison received criticism from some of those who believed it was suggesting a similarity between Trump and Sanders.
On the same day, Sirota took aim at Buttigieg on Twitter for his recent attacks on free college and noted a headline covering Buttigieg’s Wall Street donor support. Beside the headline, Sirota posted another claiming that Wall Street wasn’t happy with Sanders’ debt-free college proposal, implying that Buttigieg’s views on free college are being influenced by the desires his Wall Street donors.