Radio host Charlamagne tha God praised Pete Buttigieg for his agenda for black voters but cautioned that the mayor’s record fell short on many issues facing black residents in South Bend, Indiana.
The South Bend mayor appeared on Charlamagne’s show The Breakfast Club on Friday to discuss his agenda for black Americans.
Speaking about the interview to CNN, Charlamagne said that he liked what he heard from Buttigieg and said that his proposed agenda was actually better than proposals from 2020 black candidates in the field.
When asked if he believed Buttigieg, Charlamagne grew more cautious, reminding viewers that presidential candidates were in “dream selling season.”
“I’m just saying it sounds good, you know?” the radio host said. “He’s a politician at the end of the day, I don’t believe any of these things that they say.”
"Mayor Pete has actually laid out an agenda specifically for black people…It's not one of these agendas where it's like, 'a rising tide lifts all boats.'"
Charlamagne Tha God praises Pete Buttigieg's "Douglass Plan," saying "it's not the greatest black agenda but it's good." pic.twitter.com/GPhOWUIvgN
— CNN (@CNN) September 6, 2019
He said that Buttigieg’s actions as mayor gave him pause, questioning the police shooting of a black man in South Bend and the mayor firing a black police chief and replacing him with a white one.
“Actions speak louder than words, you know, the only actions I have to go on is what you did as South Bend as mayor, if you didn’t do a lot for black people there, I don’t know what you’ll do at a national level,” he said. “But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.”
During the interview with Buttigieg, Charlamagne noted that black people in South Bend were worse off economically, in education, employment, and poverty.
“They say, as mayor, you haven’t focused on addressing those problems. Like, why didn’t you put that focus on those things?” he asked.
Buttigieg agreed that the numbers were true, but argued that he tried to fix it by working to support home repairs in poor communities and creating “community policing.”
“Policing has been a huge challenge for us. It’s been a huge racial challenge,” he said.
Buttigieg acknowledged that he had not fixed racial problems in South Bend, but said that he was learning as he campaigned for president.
“If I wanna earn and deserve to earn black support, then I’ve got to first of all talk about what we got right in South Bend, what we got wrong, and what we’ve learned from it, but also what we’re gonna do for the country,” he said.
Charlamagne also questioned Buttigieg for why fewer black police officers were in the police department under his administration.
“I’m not going to bullshit people, it’s a problem,” Buttigieg replied. “And I’m going to own the fact that we’re not where we want to be.”
Buttigieg said recruiting black police officers was more difficult after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri.
“It’s really important to have a department that reflects the community we serve,” he said. “It’s gotten harder over time, it
was hard to begin with, it’s definitely harder post-Ferguson.”
Charlamagne asked Buttigieg why he failed to hire a black police chief to replace the black police chief that he fired.
“You know, I would’ve loved if the right person had been black, but it just didn’t work out that way,” he replied. “I mean, I also got to find the right person for the job.”