Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Friday on “CNN Tonight” that his city’s grappling with racial tensions would inform how he would handle racial issues if elected president.
CNN’s Don Lemon addressed Buttigieg’s recent acknowledgment that he “couldn’t get it done” regarding efforts to diversify the South Bend police force, asking how he would then show black voters that he could address issues of race as president.
“I don’t think all of these issues are things that somebody can just claim to have solved – the issues that I haven’t solved as a mayor are issues that America hasn’t solved, that no city has solved, but where we’ve made progress,” Buttigieg said.
“I’m not going to present myself as the person who is going to resolve racial tension or racial inequality in this country – that’s not the story I’m telling,” he continued. “What I am saying is that we have addressed these issues in my community. We have learned from that.”
Buttigieg added a line that he used in Thursday night’s debate, saying, “I’m passionately committed to bringing about, in my lifetime, a world where a black person and a white person pulled over by a police officer feels the exact same thing – and that that’s a feeling not of fear, but a feeling of safety.”
Buttigieg’s stance on criminal justice was thrust into the spotlight earlier this month after a white police officer who did not have his body camera turned on shot an African American man during an altercation. Police have alleged that the man, Eric Jack Logan, was breaking into cars and was wielding a knife.
Buttigeg also said Friday that 2020 Democrats must have a plan to address racial inequity, as opposed to what he called President Donald Trump’s “white identity politics.”
“In many ways, this President put it front and center by practicing a kind of white identity politics out of the White House,” Buttigieg said. “And if that’s what it took for some of these issues to get more prominence in the national spotlight than before, then at least that much is a healthy thing.”
He also slammed how “race is being used very effectively by this White House to divide us – to divide people with shared interests, but also at a moment when we could be reaching into our identities as a way to support one another.”
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc and Dan Merica contributed to this report.