In an effort to reach all possible voters before Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, Pete Buttigieg brought his campaign message to Fox News, sitting down with anchor Ed Henry, who asked the candidate how he could still believe President Donald Trump is racist after the Super Bowl ad he ran on Sunday.
While Buttigieg has said that he can “bring people together” and get Republicans on his side, Henry accused the candidate of “doubling down” on his claim that Trump supporters are “at best looking the other way on racism.”
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Buttigieg said he had no “regrets” about his previous comments. “I’m very concerned about the racial division that this president has fostered,” he said, “and I’m meeting a lot of voters who are no longer willing to look the other way on that, looking for a new political home.”
This brought Henry to Trump’s Super Bowl ad, in which Alice Marie Johnson can be seen thanking the president for commuting her life sentence on drug charges.
“How can you attack not just the president, but 63 million people in America who voted for him, when you have African-American women like Alice Johnson saying, ‘This is a president who gave me a second chance?’” Henry asked, turning one African-American woman into plural with his question.
“You know, I think that President Trump's decision to sign the First Step Act when it came to his desk is one of the handful of things I could actually agree with him on,” Buttigieg answered. “It doesn't change the incredibly cruel and divisive racial rhetoric that comes out of this White House, that is one of the many reasons that I'm meeting not only Democrats, but Republicans, who tell me that they struggle to look their children in the eye and explain to them how this is the president of the United States.”
After Henry seemed to equate Buttigieg’s record on race as mayor of South Bend, Indiana with Trump’s history of open racism both as president and throughout his career, the candidate said he has every right to call out the president because “the president is wrong.”
“He is wrong to attack women of color, he is wrong to compare people to animals, he is wrong to assault entire cities in his tweets,” Buttigieg said, referring to Trump’s record. “And you don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat to know that’s wrong, just as a lot of Republicans in Congress and the Senate, even if they’re providing cover for the president, can’t actually bring themselves to say that he’s a good leader. And it’s revealing.”
Henry had no choice but to move on after that.