In a wide-reaching interview on the morning radio show “The Breakfast Club,” South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg defended his support in the 2020 Democratic primary and his two debate performances.
“It’s going to take a while to lock a lot of people down. So what we’ve done now, we’ve overtaken about 20 of my competitors. Now, we’ve got the bigger hills to climb, but we’ve positioned ourselves in the top tier,” Buttigieg said Friday.
When asked about an article in the Economist published earlier this week titled “Why Pete Buttigieg is losing momentum,” which accused Buttigieg’s campaign of losing support among voters and said his debate performances “stirred no thrill of enthusiasm,” the mayor argued that his campaign “went from zero to where we are now at warp speed.”
“It is true that we’ve got to get from where we are now to the top of the heap, and that’s the work that I’ve got to do — reaching out to different voters, building out the organization I was talking about and keeping the message up,” Buttigieg said.
Host Charlamagne tha God told Buttigieg he likes the mayor because he is “charismatic,” but he said charisma was missing from the mayor’s debate performances. Buttigieg responded that candidates were only given 60 seconds to respond to questions at the first two DNC primary debates, so it was hard to have “meaningful conversations.”
The mayor also touched on his experiences of being a gay politician, saying that he thinks he can get “most” Americans to either support him or “not care” that he is a member of the LGBTQ community.
He weighed in on the controversy between actor Kevin Hart and rapper Lil Nas X. During an interview on HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” Hart interrupted Lil Nas X while the rapper was talking about his decision to come out, asking “He said he was gay? So what?”
Some accused Hart of speaking over the rapper’s personal experiences.
“I know a lot of gay people hear that and hear something that might not be that different than what some folks hear when they hear somebody say ‘I don’t see color.’ Like, no, this is a thing,” Buttigieg said. “As much as we might want to believe that our marriages are going to be treated the exact same and we just move through society like everybody else and we’re just living out lives, like, no, this is actually a thing.”
“I actually think he downplayed it a little bit. He talked about doing this from a position of strength, and that was impressive. This moment when he’s blowing up, he decides to do this. But what he was downplaying is that there’s a lot to lose by doing that at this moment,” he continued.
Buttigieg also spoke about his religious beliefs and his views on abortion, accusing Republicans of putting “a party label on God.”
“Now, right now, [Republicans] hold everybody in line with this one piece of doctrine about abortion, right, which is obviously a tough issue for a lot of people to think through morally. Then again, there’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath, and so even that is something that we can interpret differently,” Buttigieg said.
“No matter where you think about the kind of cosmic question of how life begins, most Americans can get on board with the idea of, alright, I might draw the line here, you draw the line there, but the most important thing is the person who should be drawing the line is the woman making the decision,” he added.
President Trump’s 2020 campaign spoke out about Buttigieg’s answer on their 2020 “War Room” Twitter account, retweeting a clip from the interview and accusing Democrats of being the party of “infanticide.”
SICK: Part-Time Mayor Pete Buttigieg appears to justify abortion even *after* a baby is born, suggesting life does not begin until a baby takes its first breath.
Democrats are the party of infanticide! pic.twitter.com/ymKckDKAKf
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) September 6, 2019