Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has laughed off some recent criticism from Donald Trump, comparing the President to a needy, attention-starved child at the YMCA pool who just wants you to watch him do a cannonball, okay?!
At one of his signature fascist rallies in North Carolina on Wednesday night, Trump claimed that he’d heard from Vice President Mike Pence — whose term in office as the governor of Indiana overlapped with the South Bend mayor’s — that Buttigieg is a terrible mayor.
“He runs a failed city,” said Trump, per The Indianapolis Star. “Mike [Pence] is one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet, and Mike said, ‘He never did a good job. I’m so shocked to see him running.’”
The president also brought up Buttigieg’s strained relationship with Black residents of South Bend.
"And then he goes back home, and African Americans literally were so angry at him for the lousy job — that he's supposed to be a hot young star,” Trump told the crowd of thousands. “If that's a hot young star, I guess I just don't know stardom anymore."
While it’s true that Buttigieg has a fraught relationship with communities of color in South Bend and beyond — much of it stemming from his firing of a beloved Black police chief early in his tenure, urban development projects that have displaced many community members of color, his handling of a recent police shooting in his city, comments on the campaign trail about disenfranchising prisoners, and so on — Trump is one of the worst mouthpieces imaginable to voice such criticism. He couldn’t even get through his North Carolina rally on Wednesday night without furthering his racist smear campaign against congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
"Hey, if they don't like it, let them leave," the president said, per CNN. "They don't love our country. I think in some cases, they hate our country."
That racism was contagious. At one point, the crowd chanted “Send her back!” about Omar, who is a U.S. citizen.
Later in the night, Buttigieg responded to the president’s comments about him.
“Lately, he’s been trying to get my attention,” said the South Bend mayor, per campaign communications advisor Lis Smith on Twitter. (It’s not the first time either; back in May, Trump compared Buttigieg to Alfred E. Neuman, Mad magazine’s mascot.) “Poor guy. President of the United States, trying to get the attention of a 30-something year old mayor from Indiana, that tells you something. Poor fella.”
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