As we kick into the final stretch of the 2020 presidential election, the candidates are stretching their legs, and mobilizing their surrogates to stump around the country. And over in Joe Biden's camp, former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is still applying pressure to Donald Trump's neck.
It's been a wild month for Buttigieg. As he noted in a speech in St. Petersburg, Florida Wednesday night the Biden-Harris ticket has asked a lot of him to help the campaign. They asked him to play Mike Pence opposite Kamala Harris in debate prep. Then, time and time again, they served him up to Fox News where he developed a reputation of leaving interviewers stumped. Now they have him flying across the country whipping up support. And on Wednesday night's event in Florida, he was doing just that in hopes to mobilize the LGBTQ+ community when a heckler interrupted Buttigieg's remarks wearing cargo shorts and a MAGA hat, seemingly livestreaming.
"Wouldn't it be nice to have a president who will serve him just as enthusiastically as he will serve us"" Buttigieg said as handlers placed their bodies between the interloper and Buttigieg. He was clearly referring to the fact that Trump has not stood for and protected queer and trans communities as he has his base of mostly cisgender, heterosexual men over his term. "Wouldn't it be nice to have a president who cares just as much about protecting the lives of those that protest us as those who stand at our side?" Buttigieg went on as the heckler walked around, guarded closely by aides.
"Don't you feel a little sorry for a president who finds it necessary to draw this kind of support?" Buttigieg continued later. "But it's ok sir because when Joe Biden is president you will be safer too!"
Minutes later, some of those who came to hear Buttigieg's speech tried to remove the heckler but Buttigieg waved them off, taking the higher ground.
"But dude, can I finish my remarks?" the former mayor said directly to the heckler. "Are you afraid to hear what I have to say? Yes, are you afraid of what I have to say? Yes, are you afraid of what I have to say?" Buttigieg chuckled before continuing.
"Do you denounce white supremacy?" He asked, taking another tactic. When the heckler responded in the affirmative, Buttigieg pounced: "Good, then we agree on something. That's a beginning point. See if you can get your president to do the same thing!" Shortly after Buttigieg pressed on with his speech talking about the role Florida can play in electing Biden to office.
But Buttigieg was back on Fox News today, chatting with correspondents about the campaign. When one tried to contrast the schedules of Biden and Trump, with Trump's being more appearance heavy, Buttigieg was right there with the facts.
"Just to be clear the Trump campaign has made eight stops since Sunday, today is Wednesday," Martha MacCallum said. "The Biden campaign stops have been two and as you say he's going to be back on the road tomorrow. As you say, this is a very competitive race so it might turn out that less is more in this race, we'll see. But it's clearly something that strategists will be examining."
"Yeah, I'm not really sure all of those visits from Donald Trump are really helping him though, right?" Buttigieg pointed out. "You look at Omaha where he left his supports out freezing in the cold which is a great metaphor for how he's treated his supporters more generally across the country. In Arizona you've got a bunch of people in a rally that has the potential to be a spreader event, which kind of symbolizes his inability to lead us out of this pandemic." Truly pulling no punches.
"We've heard that line a lot," MacCallum responded.
Doesn't make it any less effective!