Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg on Monday said he has a message for women who may be reluctant to vote for a man in the current political climate.
Speaking during an MSNBC town hall hosted by Chris Matthews in Fresno, California, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said he’s met women on the campaign trail who say they like his policies but would prefer to see a woman in the Oval Office.
His message to them, he said. is: “I get it. And whether you decide to be for me or not, I promise that I will be for you.”
Buttigieg is running in a field of more than 20 Democratic candidates, including six women. The mayor said his background and qualifications “are a little bit different” than any of the other candidates, including the “executive experience” of being a mayor. But the question of whether a white man should once again be in the Oval Office ― let alone be the face of the Democratic Party in 2020 ― is one many liberals are grappling with.
Asked by a female audience member why voters should choose him over the likes of Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Buttigieg said he admires “so many of the people running.”
“And, by the way, we ought to have a woman in the Oval Office right now,” the mayor said to loud applause. “I’m still disappointed.”
The town hall, held at California State University, Fresno, touched on a wide range of topics that have featured heavily in the campaign cycle so far, including gun control, abortion rights and climate change.
One audience member asked whether Buttigieg agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s measured approach on impeachment.
“I would think twice before offering strategic advice to Nancy Pelosi,” Buttigieg said, noting his position “as a young man” running for office.
But if he were in Congress right now, the candidate said, he would vote yes to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Matthews asked Buttigieg how he would have acted had he been in the Senate as sexual misconduct allegations arose against former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), another 2020 contender, was the first Democratic senator to publicly call on Franken to resign after multiple women accused him of engaging in sexual misconduct. Every other senator in the race followed suit.
Buttigieg, however, said he wouldn’t have joined his Democratic colleagues.
“I would not have applied that pressure at that time,” the mayor said on Monday.