Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg told an audience of minority voters in Iowa on Monday that racism is “woven into the American story itself.”
Buttigieg was participating in the VICE News 2020 Brown & Black Democratic Presidential Forum in Iowa, held to coincide with Martin Luther King Day, featuring several contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The former mayor was asked specifically what his mental health policy would do “for black children and trans people specifically.” He spoke about his proposed mentorship program, and a “crisis of violence against black trans women.”
He was asked a follow-up question: “Do you think the president has made young kids of color, and transgender people — do you think he’s made their mental health worse?”
“No question! No question,” Buttigieg exclaimed. “When you believe the leader of your own country doesn’t see you, or doesn’t want you to succeed, of course that is bad for your health.”
Buttigieg then added: “But let’s not pretend that if we — when we — replace this president, that everything’s just going to get better. Because a lot of these problems have been mounting for a long time.
“Some of these problems are as old as the racism woven into the American story itself.”
He also proposed “Healing and Belonging Grants” to fund programs to make “our most vulnerable” young people “feel lifted up.”
Buttigieg’s comment about racism in American history recalls a controversial statement by then-President Barack Obama in a 2015 interview in which he stated that racism was “still part of our DNA that’s passed on” as a nation.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.