Donald Trump to deliver NRA speech in Mayor Pete Buttigieg's state | News Coverage from USA

Donald Trump to deliver NRA speech in Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s state

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s trip to Indiana Friday to attend a National Rifle Association convention will be his first visit to the state since South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg formally entered the Democratic race to take on Trump.

The president made his first public reference to Buttigieg in a SiriusXM interview last week, referring to him as “the mayor of Indiana.”

“It could be the mayor of Indiana,” Trump said of Buttigieg, who has been rising in the polls in the crowded field of Democratic 2020 contenders. “I think I’d like running against him too.”

Since Buttigieg is now on Trump’s radar, will he go after him the way he’s riffed on Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren?

Neither Trump nor White House aides have tipped their hand on what the president might or might not say about Buttigieg, but we do know what the South Bend mayor has said about Trump. Here is how Buttigieg has positioned himself on some issues that the president wants to make focal points of the 2020 election.

Buttigieg on Trump

Buttigieg, who repeatedly says the 2020 election should not be about Trump, recently compared him to a “Chinese finger trap”.

“You know, the harder you pull, the more you get stuck,” he said in Iowa last week.

If Democrats talk only about Trump, then voters feel like nobody is talking about them, he’s said – in part a criticism of how his party handled the 2016 election.

But Buttigieg has gotten considerable attention for one of his zingers, which went after both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. In a CNN town hall in March, an appearance credited with starting his meteoric rise, Buttigieg rhetorically asked how Pence allowed himself “to become the cheerleader for the porn star presidency.”

When asked in a February CNN interview how he would handle attacks from Trump, Buttigieg responded: “I’m a gay man from Indiana. I know how to deal with a bully.”

Yet, Buttigieg wrote in his memoir that he regretted that, during his unsuccessful bid 2017 to head the Democratic National Committee, he called Trump a draft-dodging chickenhawk. Buttigieg said he’s since realized that Trump “was inspiring a loss of decency not just in his supporters, but also in those of us who opposed him.”

Asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos this month if he’s trying to have it both ways, Buttigieg said he works hard to not emulate Trump. “But we do need to call out hypocrisy when we see it,” he said.

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Opposite of Trump

Buttigieg is often described as the opposite of Trump – in age, intellect, temperament, tone, governing and military experience, religiosity and sexual identity.

“In huge Dem field, Buttigieg draws a unique contrast with Trump,” Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker tweeted after Buttigieg’s campaign announcement. “No attempt at razzle dazzle. No put downs. He excited his crowd with plainspokenness, clarity, and intellectual rigor.”

In that speech, Buttigieg defined the heart of his campaign as offering the opposite message from Trump’s re-election slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

“There is a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities: the myth that we can stop the clock and turn it back,” Buttigieg said. “If there is one thing the city of South Bend has shown, it’s that there is no such thing as an honest politics that revolves around the word `again.’”

Rather than trying to bring back long-gone manufacturing jobs, Buttigieg pointed to what South Bend is doing to convert a former Studebaker factory into a technology hub. Instead of representing the city’s decline, he said in his speech in that factory, the building will house jobs that didn’t exist when the factory was built.

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Comparing Trump and Sanders

Buttigieg was recently criticized for saying Trump and Bernie Sanders drew support in 2016 for similar reasons. Some voters felt stuck and just wanted to blow up the system, “which could lead you to somebody like Bernie and it could lead you to somebody like Trump,” he told high school students in Nashua, N.H.

Rep. Ro Khanna, co-chairman of Sanders’ 2020 campaign, called out Buttigieg on Twitter.

“It is intellectually dishonest to compare Bernie to Trump,” Khanna said.

Stating that Sanders and Trump are “stupendously different in very, very many respects,” Buttigieg reiterated on CNN Monday his view that there was a lot of anti-establishment energy in 2016.

“That can find its way in a number of very different political directions,” he said. “The fundamental lesson is that our economic and political system has been letting people down.”

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Buttigieg on immigration

Trump has signaled that he will make immigration as central an issue to his re-election campaign as it was to his 2016 win.

When Buttigieg talks about Trump’s immigration policies, he sometimes brings up an Indiana restaurant owner who was deported in 2017 because he had come to the U.S. 20 years ago without a visa. Buttigieg said Trump voters in the community, including the man’s wife, had expected that Trump would go after criminals and not community members in good standing.

Asked if South Bend is a so-called “sanctuary city,” Buttigieg has said he’s made it clear that his police department is not responsible for enforcing immigration policy.

“You can call it whatever you like. That’s our policy,” he said during a CNN town hall Monday. “We’re a welcoming city.”

And in response to Trump’s recent comment that “our country is full” and can’t take any more immigrants, Buttigieg said his city has plenty of room for more residents and taxpayers.

Buttigieg on socialism

Trump and other Republicans are trying to paint Democrats as socialists, going after not just Sanders, but also Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – another Democratic Socialist who is popular with fired-up progressives and authored the Green New Deal.

The conservative Washington Examiner has written about Buttigieg’s late father’s work as a scholar, which included studies of the Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci. (The headline calls Joseph Buttigieg – who was an English professor at the University of Notre Dame – a “Marxist professor who lauded the communist manifesto.”)

The Republican National Committee has accused Buttigieg himself of putting a “mild mannered face on the radical left socialist agenda” that includes government-run healthcare and the Green New Deal.

Buttigieg supports what he calls “Medicare for all who want it.” He’s said the Green New Deal is “more a set of goals right now than it is a fully articulated policy,” but also called it “the right beginning.”

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On socialism being used by Republicans to attack Democrats, Buttigieg has said the term has “largely lost its meaning in American politics because it has been used by the right to describe pretty much anything they disagree with.”

“I think of myself as progressive. But I also believe in capitalism, but it has to be democratic capitalism,” he told Vox.

Buttigieg on abortion

Republicans see abortion as an issue that will energize Trump’s base next year. In this year’s State of the Union address, Trump attacked recent state actions to make abortion more accessible, the first time that he’d mentioned the issue in any of his three joint addresses to Congress.

Republicans could go after Buttigieg for blocking an anti-abortion group from opening a counseling center next to a proposed abortion clinic in South Bend. The Women’s Care Center needed the city to rezone the building they wanted to use. Buttigieg, last year, vetoed the divided city council’s decision to rezone the site.

Buttigieg told reporters that it would be irresponsible to put next to each other two groups with diametrically opposed views “on the most divisive social issue of our time.”

“It’s not a right-to-life issues, it’s not right-of-choice issues, it’s a right to live in a peaceful community,” the South Bend Tribune quoted him saying.

Buttigieg’s decision was criticized by the University of Notre Dame’s president, who serves on the Women’s Care Center board.

But the vice president of Women’s Care Center told Vox this year that Buttigieg met with them after his veto to encourage them to find another site. The organization picked a new location across the street from their original choice.

Of his approach to the abortion issue itself, Buttigieg says it’s a moral question that won’t be settled by science.

“And so the best way for it to be settled in practice is by the person who actually faces the choice,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “And when a woman is facing this decision in her life, I think in terms of somebody besides her who can most be useful in that, the answer to that would be a doctor. Not a male government official imposing his interpretation of his religion.”

 

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