Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg recently took the chance to speak with Iowa voters as many of his 2020 rivals remain in Washington, D.C., to act as jurors in the Senate impeachment trial. During a viral video of a campaign event, Buttigieg had an awkward moment that many are comparing to Jeb Bush’s “please clap” moment from 2016, The New York Post reports.
“By having better hands guided by better values on those pulleys and levers of American government,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “So I’m going to look to you to spread that sense of hope to those that you know.”
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor took a brief pause for applause but was met with complete silence.
“Come on!” Buttigieg exclaimed and awkwardly laughed, which prompted the crowd to clap.
The clip has drawn comparisons to Bush, who had a similar moment on the 2016 campaign trail when he took a swipe at Donald Trump, who was the front-runner in the Republican primary at the time.
“I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter but send a signal that we’re prepared to act in the national security interest of this country, to get back into the business of a more peaceful world,” Bush said.
After being met with an awkward silence, he asked his attendees to “please clap.”
Amy Klobuchar also stumbled into her own “please clap” moment last year when she boasted about her electoral success thus far.
“It’s when you guys are supposed to cheer, okay?” she said after the audience failed to cheer to her accomplishments.
Buttigieg’s moment comes ahead of the Iowa caucuses. A recent poll of the early-voting state put the 38-year-old politician in third place with 16 percent support behind Elizabeth Warren at 18 percent and Joe Biden at 24 percent. Per RealClearPolitics, his overall polling average is 7.6 percent, putting him in fourth place.
Per National Post, Buttigieg has been leaning on his outsider status in an attempt to persuade Iowa voters to give him a shot. He is reportedly pointing to the prolonged political records of his rivals and suggesting himself as a fresh alternative that would bring a new face to politics.
The jab is likely aimed at rivals like fellow centrist Biden, who National Post notes Buttigieg must pull votes from to compensate for his weaker nationwide support.
Buttigieg also struggles with support from the African American community and recently had one of his campaign events crashed by activists chanting “black lives matter.”