Pete Buttigieg on Principles & Values

Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor


Government belongs to people of every religion & no religion

Q: At the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, President Trump was mocking the idea that some people could be using faith to guide their politics. He said about Mitt Romney, "he used his faith as a crutch." Response?

BUTTIGIEG: Where do we begin? I mean, especially for a president who tries to cloak himself in religion, I'm pretty sure that there's a whole lot of scripture about the dangers of pride and arrogance, and the importance of humility. I'm very committed to the idea that this country, the Constitution, the presidency, belong to people of every religion and of no religion equally. That is a core principle in our country. But I also think this is a time for those who are guided by faith to think about the choice that they have. And if you belong to a faith tradition that tells you that so much depends on how we make ourselves useful to those who are marginalized and oppressed, I just can't imagine that that requires of you that you be anywhere near this president.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of N. H. primary , Feb 6, 2020

Congress had no choice but to impeach Trump

This is beyond public opinion, beyond polls, beyond politics. The president left the House with no choice, and I think a lot of us are watching this process, watching Washington go through the motions and not expecting much, but a foregone conclusion when it gets to the Senate. We cannot give in to that sense of helplessness because that's what they want. They want us to be taken in by that cynicism where we give up on the process altogether.
Source: December Democratic primary debate on impeaching Trump , Dec 19, 2019

I'm the only presidential candidate who's not a millionaire

Sen. Elizabeth Warren [to Buttigieg]: The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900 a bottle wine. Think about who comes to that. He had promised that every fundraiser he would do would be open door, but this one was closed door. We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.

Pete Buttigieg: I am the only person on this stage who's not a millionaire or a billionaire. This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass. If I pledge never to be in the company of a progressive democratic donor, I couldn't be up here. Senator Warren, your net worth is 100 times mine. Now, supposing you went home and decided to go on to Pete for america.com and give the maximum allowable by law. Would that pollute my campaign because it came from a wealthy person? No.

Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

No purity tests: welcome Republicans and wealthy people

This is our chance to defeat Trump. The way we're going to win is to bring everybody to our side. If that means you're a grad student digging deep to chip in 10 bucks, that's great. If you can drop $1,000 without blinking, that's great too. I'm not going to turn away anyone who wants to help us defeat Trump. We need Democrats, but we also need independents. If you were Republican, disgusted with what's going on in your party, we're not going to agree on everything, but we need you.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Qualified for president since mayors have to get things done

Q: You're a mayor--we've never seen a mayor jump from that office to president. What about that position makes you uniquely qualified?

BUTTIGIEG: When you are a mayor, you're responsible for getting things done," responded Mr. Buttigieg. "You'll never hear about a city shutting down the government because they have a disagreement over politics. ... Cities don't get to print their own money when there's a deficit, so you just have to figure out your finances and get stuff done.

Source: Christian Science Monitor on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 13, 2019

Impeachment should be above politics, but Trump confessed

The constitutional process of impeachment should be beyond politics. And it is not a part of [my presidential] campaign. But the president's conduct is. The impeachable conduct that we have seen in the abuse of power that we're learning more about in the investigations -- but just to be clear, the president's already confessed to it on television.

Under normal circumstances, a president would leave office after something that was revealed recently that barely got any attention at all, which was the president had to confess in writing, in court, to illegally diverting charitable contributions that were supposed to go to veterans. We are absolutely going to confront this president for his wrongdoing, but we're also each running to be the president who will lead this country after the Trump presidency comes to an end one way or the other.

Source: November Democratic primary debate, on impeaching Trump , Nov 20, 2019

Right experience, not traditional Washington experience

Q: Why should Democrats take the risk of betting on you?

BUTTIGIEG: I have the right experience to take on Donald Trump. It's not traditional establishment Washington experience, but we need something different now. In order to defeat this president, we need somebody who comes from the kind of communities he's appealing to. I don't talk about helping the working class while helicoptering between golf courses. I also wore the uniform of this country. I know how to bring people together to get things done. Even on issues like immigration and guns, we have a majority to do the right thing, if we can galvanize, not polarize that majority. For example, on health care, the reason I insist on Medicare for all who want it as the strategy is that is something we can unify the American people around, creating a version of Medicare, making it available to anybody who wants it, but without the divisive step of ordering people onto it whether they want to or not.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Impeachment is not just about Trump, but about presidency

It's a mistake on the part of Republicans who enabled a president whose actions are as offensive to their own supposed values as they are to the values that we all share. This is not just about holding the President accountable. It's also about the presidency itself because a president, 10 years or 100 years from now, will look back at this moment and draw the conclusion, either that no one is above the law or that a president can get away with anything.
Source: October Democratic Primary debate on impeaching Trump , Oct 15, 2019

America known as country that keeps its word

Soldiers in the field are reporting that, for the first time, they feel ashamed of what their country has done. We saw the horrifying sight of a woman with the lifeless body of her child in her arms, asking what the hell happened to American leadership? When I was deployed, I knew one of the things keeping me safe was the fact that the flag on my shoulder represented a country known to keep its word. You take that away, you are taking away what makes America America.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Purpose of presidency is unification, not self-glorification

I think about the friendships I formed in the military. People who were radically different from me and we learned to trust each other with our lives. I want every American to have that experience without having to go to war [which] is why I believe national service is so important. Only the president can build a sense of belonging and purpose for the entire country. The purpose of the presidency is not the glorification of the president. It is the unification of the America
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Invest in mental health and build community

I think that search for belonging and the exclusion from belonging is something that can lead to substance use disorder and to suicide attempts. And it's one of the reasons why we need to make sure we send a message culturally that this is a time for building a sense of, as well as investing specifically in resources for mental health.
Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall , Oct 10, 2019

Religious freedom does not mean the right to hurt others

Religious liberty is an important principle in this country, and we honor that. It's also the case that any freedom that we honor in this country has limits when it comes to harming other people. We say that the right to free speech does not include the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. A famous justice said my right to swing my fists ends where somebody else's nose begins. And the right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people.
Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall , Oct 10, 2019

Unity and bold ideas will solve our challenges

We keep sending politicians to Washington asking them to fight for us, but they seem more interested in fighting than the part about us. We just marked the anniversary of 9/11. I've been thinking about September 12th, the way it felt when for a moment we came together as a country. Imagine if we had been able to sustain that unity. Imagine what would be possible with ideas that are bold enough to meet the challenges of our time, but big enough that they could unify the American people.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Politics is not theoretical; our generation must deliver

Nothing about politics is theoretical for me. I've experienced being in a marriage that exists by the grace of a single vote on the Supreme Court. I'm running because the decisions we make in the next three or four years are going to decide how the next 30 or 40 go. When I get to the age of the current president in the year 2055, I want to be able to look back and say my generation delivered climate solutions, racial equality, and an end to endless war
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Won't demand prosecution of Trump; that's AG's call

It's not the president's job to prosecute a [former] president. Prosecution decisions shouldn't be made by politicians. Any attorney general I appoint will faithfully apply the concept that no one is above the law, whether they're a former president or somebody who's never been anywhere near the halls of power. That's the whole point. It's that justice is blind.
Source: NBC News Meet the Press 2019 interview on impeaching Trump , Jun 16, 2019

Not up to the president to decide who should be prosecuted

It's not up to the President to pursue charges [based on the Mueller Report]. I believe that the last place you look for guidance on how to conduct a prosecution is to the Oval Office. There should be a Department of Justice that can think for itself. There is tons of evidence that would point to an obstruction investigation. I'm just saying it shouldn't be ordered up by the President.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview on Mueller Report , Jun 16, 2019

Rejecting foreign election interference isn't complicated

Q: Let me ask you about accepting foreign interference. If somebody offered your campaign dirt on, on either President Trump or a Democratic candidate, what would you do with that dirt?

BUTTIGIEG: You wouldn't do anything with that dirt. You would call the FBI. This isn't even complicated.

Q: Would you ever look at it?

BUTTIGIEG: The moment that you look at it, you have implicated yourself, and I don't think you would want to do that. Some things are complicated in politics and ethics. This is not. And this is not theoretical either. A foreign, a hostile foreign power successfully attacked our democracy in the last election, and there's no indication that they're going to back off from trying to do it in the next election.

Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview on impeaching Trump , Jun 16, 2019

The world needs America at our best

The world needs America. But not just any America. It has to be America at our best: the America that possessed the forward-looking vision to do things like confront Nazism and rebuild Europe and even invent the Internet inside a research arm of our Defense Department. It has to be an America that knows how to make better the everyday life of its citizens and of people around the world, knowing how much one has to do with the other.
Source: 2020 presidential campaign website, PeteForAmerica.com , Jun 11, 2019

Ensure that America's future is better than its past

Pete belongs to the generation that came of age with school shootings, the generation that provided the majority of the troops in the conflicts after 9/11, the generation that is on the business end of climate change, and the generation that-- unless we take action--stands to be the first to be worse off economically than their parents.

Pete is laying out a vision, values, and policies to ensure that America's future is better than its past. We need to secure a future in which every American has the freedom to live a life of their choosing; where our republic grows more and not less democratic; where racial justice is a reality and not a dream; where we've put an end to endless war; where we've summoned the national will to meet the challenge of climate change; where everyone has the health care they need; and where everyone has the chance to find purpose and belonging in our economy and our country.

Source: 2020 Presidential Campaign website PeteForAmerica.com , May 2, 2019

We cannot find greatness in the past

There is no 'again' in the real world. WE CANNOT FIND GREATNESS IN THE PAST.

There is no honest politics that revolves around the word 'again.' In the era of automation and globalization, major changes are going to happen whether we're ready or not. The question isn't: "Can we stop these changes and go back to the past?" The question needs to be: "How can we make sure these changes work for us?" America is at its best when we master change for the benefit of every American.

Source: 2020 Presidential Campaign website PeteForAmerica.com , May 2, 2019

God does not have a political party

I believe strongly in the separation of church and state and I think anybody who steps into the public sphere needs to make it clear that they're here to support people of any religion and people of no religion. God does not have a political party.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 22, 2019

If I had been given a choice, I would have not been gay

Speaking at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch, Buttigieg said, "If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade," making a direct appeal to religious beliefs.

Buttigieg spoke emotionally of his journey toward accepting his sexuality. "If you had offered me a pill to me straight, I would have swallowed it before you could had time to get me a sip of water. It's a hard thing to think about now. It's hard to face the truth that there were times in my life when if you had shown me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife."

What a loss that would have been for him, he said. "If I had had the chance to do that, I would never have found my way to Chasten," he said referring to husband Chasten Buttigieg, whom he married in June. "Thank god there was no pill," he said. "Thank god there was no knife."

Source: People e-zine "LGBTQ History," on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Apr 9, 2019

Supports religious values and separation of church and state

Pete Buttigieg wants his party to embrace religion but not at the expense of excluding others. He said the Democratic Party has sometimes become distant from religion, but it's "a side effect of something healthy" because of commitment to the separation of church and state, and the belief that it speaks for people of any faith and of no faith equally. "I think there's an opportunity hopefully for religion to be not so much used as a cudgel but invoked as a way of calling us to higher values."
Source: Washington Post on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 29, 2019

Tension between capitalism and democracy America's challenge

More often than not, he splits the difference between the party's extremes. In a Vox interview he said, "You have one generation that grew up associating socialism with communism like they're the same thing, and therefore also assuming that capitalism and democracy were inseparable. I've grown up in a time when you can pretty much tell that there's tension between capitalism and democracy, and negotiating that tension is probably the biggest challenge for America right now."
Source: The New Republic magazine, articles on 2020 candidates , Mar 29, 2019

Progressive, but not concerned with labels

I think more and more people just want to know what your ideas are and whether they make any sense. And part of how we were able to succeed in South Bend, governing, I believe in accordance with progressive values, but also earning a lot of support from Republicans and independents wasn't by trying to manage exactly where I was on this kind of left/right spectrum, it was by trying to do the right thing. I view myself as a progressive, but these labels are becoming less and less useful.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2019 interviews for 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 19, 2019

Would be youngest president ever, and first mayor

If elected, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, would achieve a number of presidential firsts--the youngest president, aged 37, the first mayor elected directly to the White House, the first Afghanistan War veteran and the first openly gay president.

His biggest obstacle: The possible "firsts" are also obstacles. He's young. And the mayor's office of a small Indiana town, with its small constituency, is an unlikely seat from which to launch a presidential campaign. Mr Buttigieg will be hard-pressed to break through against better-funded, more experienced candidates. Chances are, however, he'll still be around in politics long after many of them are gone and he thinks his age is a plus. "It allows me to communicate to the country a vision about what our country is going to look like in 2054," he said. "That's the year I get to the current age of the current president."

Source: BBC.com on 2020 Democratic primary contenders at 2019 SXSW , Mar 12, 2019

Yes, young, but more government experience than Pres. Trump

Buttigieg rebutted questions about his age by saying he has the experience to be president. Buttigieg appeared at the town hall without a jacket, the decision that made him look even younger than he does, a fact he often jokes about on the campaign trail.

When asked why he thinks, at 37 years old, he is qualified to be President, Buttigieg replied he had the experience, another answer that hit the Trump administration. "I have more years of government experience under my belt than the President. That's a low bar. I know that. I also have had more years of executive government experience than the vice president," he said.

"I get I'm the young guy in the conversation, but experience is what qualifies me to have a seat at this table," he concluded.

Source: CNN KFile on 2019 SXSW conference in Austin , Mar 11, 2019

National service can unite Americans

There's something about serving which is that it brings you together with other Americans. We learned to trust each other with our lives, even though our politics in our lives back home were so different. And I think we need to get back to that. I'm a big believer in expanding opportunities for national service. We need more of those experiences that can bring us together, even when we have nothing in common, except the fact that we're American.
Source: CNN Town Hall: back-to-back 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 10, 2019

1990s: Nominated Bernie Sanders for Profile in Courage award

At the urging of my teachers, I had submitted an entry to an essay contest sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library as part of their annual Profile in Courage Award.

An obscure Vermont congressman, Bernie Sanders, had been reelected for years as a socialist--in a (then) generally Republican state. "Socialist" was the dirtiest word in politics, yet he won because people saw that he came by his values honestly. Regardless of whether you agreed politically, it certainly seemed like a profile in courage to me. Candidates for office can easily develop "an ability to outgrow their convictions in order to win power," and that Sanders was an inspiring exception.

I wrote that Sanders's "real impact has been as a reaction to the cynical climate which threatens the effectiveness of the democratic system."

I had won first prize, and would be flown to the library in Boston to meet the award committee and accept the scholarship money that went along with it.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 30-1 , Feb 12, 2019

2000: worked for Gore, but Bush was same on domestic policy

[In 2000 as Harvard student], I volunteered for Al Gore's campaign that fall, chauffeuring guests around Boston during the run-up to the presidential debate there, but the sense among many students was that Bush and Gore were barely distinguishable on domestic policy: center-left versus center-right. The biggest campaign-related excitement was the arrival of riot police on the outskirts of the debate site to contend with Green Party protesters who were marching and chanting, "Let Ralph [Nader] debate." When Bush ultimately prevailed in the Supreme Court and claimed the presidency, it still felt like little would change from the Clinton era.
Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 39-40 , Feb 12, 2019

Name recognition is key; his is pronounced "Buddha-judge"

[Buttigieg ran for state treasurer in 2010; he lost]. Campaigning for office is enormously difficult, but in a way, it's not very complicated. You have to persuade voters to vote or you, raise money so you can reach more voters, and get other people to help you do those two things. Half the battle is name recognition, and my biggest problem was that no one had any idea who I was. My name was unfamiliar and unpronounceable. My campaign manager Jeff Harris and I spent half a day just figuring out how to render it phonetically, settling on the breakdown "Budda Judge," which was close enough and easier to remember than any other way we could think to write down. Plus I was twenty-seven years old, and baby-faced enough to pass for a college student. In a campaign office, I would be more likely to be taken for an intern or perhaps a young organizer than an actual candidate. My family had no Indiana political connections, and neither did my employer.
Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 90-3 , Feb 12, 2019

My success shows that Democrats can win in Flyover Country

To some, the 2016 election was a kind of revenge by "flyover country," long ignored by the coastal elite in general and by the Democratic party in particular. I certainly felt that our region had been ignored and misunderstood, but to me that did not have to lead to this kind of electoral outcome; our own story in South Bend showed that honest and optimistic politics could resonate just as well in economically challenged communities.

I wasn't the only one who thought this way, and said so, after the 2016 election astonished and traumatized my party. It crossed my mind to run for chair of the Democratic National Committee. Who better than a millennial, Midwestern mayor to try to guide the party in a better direction?

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.305-6 , Feb 12, 2019

For DNC chair: "A Letter from Flyover Country"

Running for chair made sense, from a generational, regional, and structural perspective. And because I belonged to no faction, it seemed I would help the party transcend an emerging internal struggle between its establishment wing and its new left.

I wrote an essay on the future of the party, called, "A Letter from Flyover Country," and published it online. Seeking to offer a Midwestern, millennial mayor's perspective on where our party had gone wrong and how we could do better, the essay suggested a values-oriented approach and a much greater concentration on the stories and lived experience of Americans getting through life in our hometowns. I also believed that this kind of approach could move us beyond a superficial political strategy based on capturing constituency groups individually, with no unifying theme.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.306-8 , Feb 12, 2019

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Pete Buttigieg on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

External Links about Pete Buttigieg:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Feb 24, 2020