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The Other Democratic Candidates Are Done Playing Nice With Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete Buttigieg greets people after speaking during a campaign stop at the Rex Theatre

Pete Buttigieg seems to have irked a lot of his Democratic opponents since the day he entered the 2020 Presidential race, but the dam has broken in terms of to what degree they’re willing to keep that mostly to themselves.

Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have called Buttigieg out this week for some questionable policies and practices. Warren criticized Buttigieg’s private, media-free fundraising events, telling reporters, “I think that Mayor Pete should open up the doors so that anyone can come in and report on what’s being said. Those doors shouldn’t be closed, and no one should be left to wonder what kind of promises are being made to the people that then pony up big bucks to be in the room.”

Similarly, a coalition of immigrants rights groups has called on Buttigieg to return donations connected to McKinsey & Co, a company that has reportedly played a major role in aiding ICE to carry out the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies (and where Buttigieg worked more than a decade ago).

As for Sanders, he challenged Buttigieg on tuition-free college. Buttigieg has attacked the idea of universal college, saying that not everyone wants to go to college (that’s fine, no one is forcing anyone) and that we shouldn’t have to pay for the children of millionaires.

Not only is it off-putting to hear Buttigieg try to defend things like trade schools given the fact that so much of his own appeal is based in his academic accolades, but his arguments are common Republican talking points.

That’s not the only GOP talking point Pete has been throwing out. At a recent event in New Hampshire, he told the audience that Democrats are “not known for worrying about deficits.” That is, as MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell noted on his show Thursday night, just not true.

“Both of those lines are lies,” he said. “They are Republican lies that, for some reason, Pete Buttigieg decided to tell today.”

Lawrence went on to say that “Pete Buttigieg literally doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he talks about Democrats and the deficit. Or he’s deliberately lying. And I’m sorry, but those are the only choices.”

Buttigieg has built his campaign so far on attacking more progressive Democrats in the field as being unrealistic and it’s nice to see them push back.

As the first openly gay major Democratic candidate as well as the first millennial candidate to run in a Presidential primary, Buttigieg initially positioned himself as an exciting force for change. But then he uses GOP lies to bash his opponents while defending his lack of interest in Medicare for All or universal free public college and it’s hard to see what sort of change that could possibly be.

It’s especially frustrating as we have to watch bolder, more experienced candidates either drop out of the race or struggle in the polls. Meanwhile, Mayor Pete is still going strong.

Still no matter what you think of Pete Buttigieg, I think we can all agree on one thing: Never be this guy. This guy is the absolute worst:

(image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.