South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is struggling to gain African-American support in his bid for the presidency. If he didn't know how bad it was before, he does now, thanks to CNN's Chris Cuomo. The network anchor confronted Buttigieg on his program Monday night about his trouble gaining ground with the demographic. For instance, he cited a recent CNN poll that put his support among blacks at zero.
“When we look at the polls that came out today from Quinnipiac," Cuomo noted, "you struggle with African-Americans, literally, defined almost at 0 percent. Why?”
“African-American voters are tired of having been lied to or taken for granted by politicians," Buttigieg countered. "When you are new on the scene, when you haven’t been known for years or decades, and when you’re not yourself from a community of color, you’ve got a lot of extra work to do in order to validate what you have to say and earn that trust.”
Buttigieg's issue with the black community could be related to how he handled a recent police shooting in South Bend. A white police officer, Sgt. Ryan O'Neill, killed 54-year-old African-American Eric Logan after Logan ran at him with a knife, according to O'Neill. Although the city had purchased body cameras for the force, O'Neill was not wearing one when he pulled the trigger.
Buttigieg has also faced some heat for firing the city's first black police chief and for deciding not to release audio tapes of police officers who were reportedly uttering racial slurs. African American members of the community have demanded answers from the mayor and Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski, and Buttigieg was even confronted about the controversy at last month's DNC debates. He's admitted he could have done better, but pushed back at constituents who accused him of complete inaction.
"I don’t want to seem defensive, but we have taken a lot of steps," the mayor declared at a town hall last month. "They clearly haven’t been enough. But I can’t accept the suggestion that we haven’t done anything."
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Buttigieg's support among black voters appears to be even less than that of President Trump, who the mayor has identified as a racist.
To start with, Mr. Buttigieg appears to have even lower black support than the president he calls racist. In the 2016 election, Mr. Trump received 8% of the African-American vote, according to exit polls. More recently, even after the House passed a resolution condemning him for racism, a Hill-HarrisX poll reported President Trump enjoying 13% approval among black voters.
Buttigieg will take the debate stage again this week in Detroit. Follow along on the Townhall live blog both tonight and Wednesday night starting at 7:30 p.m.!