How 'Mayor Pete' Became 'Slayer Pete'

Pete Buttigieg wins acclaim for his rebuttals on Fox News
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2020 12:00 PM CDT
Mayor Pete Finds New Life on Fox News
In this image from video, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020.   (Democratic National Convention via AP)

CNN Business called him "savage." The LA Times dubbed him "Slayer Pete." Of all people, Pete Buttigieg—the friendly, clean, cerebral Democratic politician of 2020—is raising eyebrows for his icy put-downs on Fox News. To wit: "I don't know why you would want to be in a room with other people if you were contagious with a deadly disease and you care about other people," Buttigieg said on Fox & Friends earlier this month when President Trump rejected a virtual debate. "But maybe the president doesn't care about other people." As Buttigieg plays the Biden-Harris surrogate on cable news and perhaps eyes a future cabinet position, more of his quotes are making the rounds. For those, and reactions:

  • Running mates: "There's a classic parlor game of trying to find a little bit of daylight between running mates," Buttigieg said on Fox News on Oct. 7, per Refinery 29. "If people want to play that game we could look into why an evangelical Christian like Mike Pence wants to be on a ticket with a president caught with a porn star."

  • Virtual formats: "It's not something I think most of us enjoy, but it's a safety measure," Buttigieg said Oct. 7 on Fox & Friends, per Mashable. "And I think part of why the US is falling behind ... because every time there's been a choice between doing something that's more safe, or less safe, this president seems to push forward less safe."
  • Putting Amy Barrett on the Supreme Court: "It's not in the spirit of the Constitution nor the spirit of our legal system or political system for them to do this," he said on Fox News Sunday, per Fox News. "We're not talking about an election that's coming up. We're in the middle of an election, millions of Americans have voted and want their voice to be heard."
  • Barrett and marriage equality: "I guess I would invite her to ... put herself in the shoes of somebody who was married and then was effectively forcibly divorced by judicial fiat," he said last weekend on MSNBC, per Instinct. "Told that they were no longer married to their spouse. Told that their family was no longer a family.”
  • An oldie: Buttigieg was pressed at a Fox News town hall in May about allowing third-trimester abortions, Newsweek recalls. "If it's that late in your pregnancy, that means almost by definition you've been expecting to carry it to term," he said. "We're talking about women who have perhaps chosen the name, women who have purchased the crib," when they get "devastating medical news" and have to make an "unthinkable" choice. "That decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made."
  • A reaction: "Liberals, even those who had grown tired of his dogged reasonableness, have celebrated each of his three recent appearances on [Fox News] as a tour de force and a rout," per Benjamin Wallace-Wells at the New Yorker.
  • Another: "Pundit Pete is so different from presidential-hopeful Pete. He sounds one-and-a-half-drinks loose, a little hopped up on the friction, his eyebrows conveying something that looks like it might be irony," writes Katherine Stoeffel at Bustle. "Now is the time to tune in and rediscover the joy of watching a smart aleck land one."
  • One more: "Now we know that what lies behind that white shirt, dark tie and 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' face is not a policy wonk but a rhetorical assassin," writes Mary McNamara at the LA Times. "With a loving husband, a really nice kitchen and deadly aim."
(More Pete Buttigieg stories.)

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