Pete Buttigieg is hitting back after Donald Trump accused him of being a “fake Christian” at an evangelical rally in Florida.
Trump took aim at the 2020 Democratic candidate before cheering crowds at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami this week. As Newsweek noted, Trump told the Christian crowd that God is “on our side” and against “radical left” Democrats, accusing Buttigieg of trying to remove God from America.
Speaking at the Christian event, Trump used a mocking name for the South Bend, Indiana, mayor while also making fun of the sound of his last name.
“And I see Alfred E. Neuman comes out and he’s trying to pretend he’s very religious. Alfred E. Neuman you know who that is, right?” Trump said, comparing Mayor Buttigieg to the Mad Magazine character in an apparent attack on his appearance.
“Buttigieg—you go ‘boot’ and then ‘edge, edge,’ because nobody can pronounce his name so they call him ‘Mayor Pete.’ “
Trump went on to imply that Buttigieg has only adopted religion for the sake of the Democratic primary.
“Now Mayor Pete I hope he does great. Boot-edge-edge. Now all of a sudden he’s become extremely religious, this happened about two weeks ago,” Trump said.
Buttigieg hit back after the criticism, taking to Twitter to say, “God does not belong to a political party.”
Buttigieg has used that line in the past in response to criticism from the right, pushing back against conservatives who have tried to claim that God would be on their side.
Trump has taken increasing aim at the religious affiliations of his political opponents in recent weeks. As the Washington Post noted, Trump recently mocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she declared that she was praying for the president. In a rambling letter responding to Pelosi as she led the impeachment process, Trump claimed that she was lying when she made the claim that she was praying for him. Trump said Pelosi was “offending Americans of faith” with the remark.
Buttigieg has been very public in his Christian faith, saying throughout the campaign how it has shaped him. The South Bend mayor regularly attends an Episcopal Church. Pelosi too is devout in her faith, regularly attending Catholic Church.
As Newsweek noted, Trump has been very strong with self-described evangelical Christian voters, taking 76 percent of this demographic in the 2016 presidential election. The group is seen as one of the key bases of support for Trump going into the 2020 election as well.