Mayor Pete Buttigieg lambasted his fellow presidential candidates during CNN’s Democratic debate on Tuesday, saying they should stop concerning themselves with what Republicans will say about their policies and instead stand up for what’s right.
“It’s time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say,” Buttigieg said during the debate in Detroit, the second of the 2020 primary contest. “Look, if it’s true that if we embrace a far-left agenda, they’re going to say we’re a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to say that we’re a bunch of crazy socialists.”
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s comments came amid a heated discussion about health care in America. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) continually touted their plans to roll out “Medicare for All” should they unseat President Donald Trump next year while other candidates, including Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) attacked the proposals.
At one point, Sanders lashed out at CNN host and moderator Jake Tapper for repeatedly asking about how his health care plans would affect taxes for middle-class Americans, saying the question was simply a “Republican talking point.”
Buttigieg noted that, rather than move to shame each other and concern themselves with how Republicans will go on the attack, he planned to put forward the best policies and go from there.
“Let’s just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it. That’s the policy I’m going to put forward,” he said. “Not because I think it’s the right triangulation between Republicans here and Democrats there.”
CNN is hosting two debates this week featuring 20 Democratic candidates, although many of the candidates are expected to drop out should they fail to garner more support. The next debates in September feature far higher qualifications set by the Democratic National Committee, and many have so far failed to meet them.