Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg sat down for an exclusive interview with “TODAY” host Craig Melvin to talk about his presidential campaign and how he thinks he can beat President Donald Trump.
During the interview, Buttigieg spoke about his age and experience, how he plans to get the support of black voters, was quizzed about the lack of policy specifics, and talked about how faith plays a part in his life.
Age and experience
When asked what he thinks about his age compared to other candidates, Buttigieg said it was more about experience: “I have more government experience than the president of the United State, and that may be a low bar, but I’ve got more executive government experience than the vice president and I have more military experience than anybody who has walked into that office since day 1, since George H.W. Bush.”
Melvin followed by asking Buttigieg about being the “flavor of the month” — where candidates rank well in polls following their campaign announcement, only to lose the media spotlight shortly thereafter.
“It’s fair to say that I’ve outlived the ‘flavor of the month’ period, it’s been more like two months,” Buttigieg said. “With so many of us in it, some of us would be lucky to be ‘flavor of the day.’ But we are very mindful that vaulting into the top three or the top five, or however you count, in May is nice, but it doesn’t win you the election.”
Buttigieg spoke about how his policy proposals compare to the other candidates, and why he hasn’t put out more details. He explained that he has put out specific policies, but “there is more at stake than just the elegance of the designs” of policies because while candidates spend time putting out proposals, they might forget to explain the values that motivate those policies.
Areas that Buttigieg said he will focus on reforming the structure of the Supreme Court, college affordability, and carbon pricing or carbon tax.
“I think we need an expansion of Pell Grants,” Buttigieg said. “I think we need the ability to refinance student debt, I think we need to act on the way that when your debt is forgiven with income based repayment, the way that is taxed.”
Minority support for Buttigieg and faith in politics
Melvin asked the mayor about the relatively homogeneous crowds that have showed up to his rallies. Buttigieg says that he plans to lay out policy proposals to target issues that black voters care about. Buttigieg pointed to his city of South Bend as an example of how he has garnered diverse support.
Buttigieg spoke about faith and its ties to politics.
“It’s also important that we stop seeing religion used as a sort of cudgel, as if God belonged to a political party, and if he did, I can’t imagine it would be the one that sent the current president into the White House,” said an impassioned Buttigieg.
“I hear about taking care of the marginalized and defending the weak and supporting the poor, and visiting the prisoner, and welcoming the stranger, and humility and decency — these are the things that are taught in Sunday School,” he continued. “The idea that that is the property of the Republican party… it just doesn’t add up to me.”
Check out the full interview for more on Pete Buttigieg and his campaign.