During a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was answering questions submitted by an audience that filled a saloon hall when a question from an 11-year-old girl named Rebecca was pulled. She wanted to know: Did Mayor Pete have any advice about bullying? In a video posted by the Des Moines Register, the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and first openly gay presidential candidate is seen sharing a personal response to Rebecca's question, admitting he'd been bullied himself.
“Part of the advice I’d give is to be willing to talk about it," Buttigieg said, facing towards Rebecca, "So I think you’re leading the way on that. ... Everybody who’s different can be bullied, and the secret is everybody’s different in some way. You have nothing to be ashamed of."
“The person who’s bullying you probably has something a little broken in them,” he continued. “... They want to kind of control a situation because something else in their life isn’t going well, and they don’t feel they have control in a bigger way.”
As Buttigieg was speaking about bullies, someone from the crowd yelled "sounds familiar!"
“I think it really matters that we have a president who doesn’t show that kind of behavior," Buttigieg said in response to the audience member's comment. "It’s one of the reasons I’m running for president.”
President Donald Trump, whose ascent to power and first two years in office has been defined by racist remarks and petty name calling, seems to fit the bill for a bully. From making fun of a disabled reporter during his 2016 campaign, to calling Latino migrants "animals" in 2018, Trump has used his global platform to punch down at vulnerable people to further his own agenda.
“It’s also a moral office … you want to have leaders — and certainly, want to have a president — who can lead in a way that equips young people to deal with bullying," Buttigieg continued. "Needless to say, we’ve got the opposite of that now.”