Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg recently came out against President Trump’s criticisms of four freshmen members of the Democratic Party who said those members in office who hate the United States should leave it; adding they should “go back” to their countries.
ABC News reports Buttigieg said those comments and a chant at a Trump rally in North Carolina, where participants repeated “send her back” (directed at Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar), were racist in nature and “could be the lurking issue that ends this country.”
“That is the only issue that almost ended this country,” the South Bend mayor said. “We’ve had a lot challenges in this country, but the one that actually almost ended this country in the Civil War was white supremacy,” Buttigieg said. “It could be the lurking issue that ends this country in the future, if we don’t wrangle it down in our time.”
The White House which defended the president’s remarks as intending to mean those with differences in their political ideology should leave—not those of a different race or country of origin. Despite these comments, Buttigieg said on Saturday: “The key to dealing with racial discussions in the country is honesty. And that means honesty about how we got here. It means honesty about what we are up against.”
He continued, via ABC News: “Also, in my view, it means treating racial inequality as a specialty issue, as an issue to be talked about with audiences of color only — but as something that frankly white Americans need to take more seriously.”
And, “The entire American experiment is at stake in whether we can manage to deliver prosperity in a way that your race has no bearing on your income, your wealth, your employment opportunities, your experience with criminal justice [and] your ability to vote.”
“We’re just not there and we won’t get there until we acknowledge that replacing a racist historical structure with a more neutral current one is not enough,” he concluded per the report.
Here’s more, from ABC News:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Buttigieg has dealt with issues of race throughout his campaign, especially in recent weeks after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in his hometown of South Bend. He even briefly left the campaign trail to return home and address the issue. Buttigieg was greeted by jeers from protesters at a press conference and public forum about the shooting last month.
The officer has remained on paid leave, sparking a petition by residents to get him suspended from the force. Buttigieg has said he does not have the power as mayor to make that decision. Only the Board of Public Safety — comprised of five civilians appointed by the mayor — can suspend or fire an officer involved in a shooting, he told “Nightline” earlier this month.
But Buttigieg has been honest about needing to create more diversity in the police department in South Bend. He said he has tried to do so, somewhat unsuccessfully, but will continue to push for it.