Far-left Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is facing a new scandal involving the black community after reports surfaced over the weekend that indicated Buttigieg falsely claimed to have endorsements for his plan to reach out to the black community, used a stock photo from Africa to depict African-Americans, and falsely claimed that the plan had support from hundreds of black voters who were actually white.
Buttigieg has struggled to gain support among black voters because of how poorly the community fared under his leadership as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and over how he handled an officer-involved shooting of a black man.
The Intercept reports:
In July, he released his campaign’s chief piece of policy outreach to black voters, called “The Douglass Plan: A Comprehensive Investment in the Empowerment of Black America.” The plan covers everything from criminal justice reform to public health care, education, and beyond. It proposes using federal contracting rules to increase the amount of contracts going to minority- and women-owned firms to 25 percent, and offers student loan deferment and forgiveness to Pell Grant recipients who go on to start businesses that employ at least three people.
Buttigieg’s campaign began promoting a list of 400 black South Carolina voters that it claimed supported his plan, but it turned out that nearly half of the list was white.
Buttigieg campaign says that people had a chance to opt out of endorsing and received this email before it went public: https://t.co/PidpTyGtMe pic.twitter.com/d8xdihTpMv
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 15, 2019
To add insult to injury, the top three black people that Buttigieg claimed supported his plan all pushed back against his claims, and said his campaign was dishonest.
“Buttigieg traveled to South Carolina to spread awareness of the plan. The supporters were rolled out in a press release and open letter published in the HBCU Times – which focuses on ‘positive news related to Historically Black Colleges and Universities,'” The Intercept reported. “Listed at the top of the press release were three prominent supporters, Columbia City Councilwoman Tameika Devine; Rehoboth Baptist pastor and state Rep. Ivory Thigpen; and Johnnie Cordero, chair of the state party’s Black Caucus.”
Here’s how those three alleged “prominent supporters” of Buttigieg responded to what his campaign did:
- Devine: “Clearly from the number of calls I received about my endorsement, I think the way they put it out there wasn’t clear, that it was an endorsement of the plan, and that may have been intentionally vague. I’m political, I know how that works. I do think they probably put it out there thinking people wouldn’t read the fine print or wouldn’t look at the details or even contact the people and say, ‘Hey, you’re endorsing Mayor Pete?’”
- Thigpen: “How it was rolled out was not an accurate representation of where I stand. I didn’t know about its rolling out. Somebody brought it to my attention, and it was alarming to me, because even though I had had conversations with the campaign, it was clear to me, or at least I thought I made it clear to them, that I was a strong Bernie Sanders supporter – actually co-chair of the state, and I was not seeking to endorse their candidate or the plan. But what I had talked about was potentially giving them a quote of support in continuing the conversation, because I do think it’s a very important conversation. I actually had not circled back to give them a quote, so I was alarmed and very much surprised to see, particularly, the headline as such because I do think it muddies the water, I do think it was a misrepresentation, and it easily could have confused a lot of people as to where I stood. That was, from the very beginning, concerns that I expressed.”
- Cordero: “I never endorsed that plan. I don’t know how my name got on there. … I had some difficulties with it. It’s entirely presumptuous. I’m not going to change what I’m going to say. It’s presumptuous to think you can come up with a plan for black America without hearing from black folk. … you don’t do that. Those days are over and done with. We’re tired of people telling us what we need. You wanna find out what we need? Come and ask us.”
Further investigation found that the picture that Buttigieg used to promote his plan was a stock photograph from a woman in Kenya.
The Intercept reported the following quote from the woman: “Am the ‘woman’ featured on that photo by githiri Nicholas. what’s the meaning of the message accompanied by the photo? Have no idea of what’s happening…”
On top of everything else, the Buttigieg campaign used a stock photo from Kenya to promote its Frederick Douglass Plan for Black America https://t.co/OqnGSIqCLS pic.twitter.com/qBqei71TdA
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 15, 2019