Mayor Pete Buttigieg revealed his plan Thursday of how to compete with President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
“What we’ve got to learn is how to kind of stiff-arm him, it’s almost sort of a ‘crazy uncle’ management,” he said.
Buttigieg commented on his future plans to debate Trump in a conversation with Washington Post reporter Robert Costa.
He said that Democrats should correct Trump during debates but not get distracted by his controversial views.
“It can’t be about him, any energy that goes his way, including energy that goes his way in the form of criticism turns into a kind of food, he just devours it and gets bigger,” Buttigieg said.
He said he would focus more on policy issues that most Americans support, and avoid the “silly insults” and rhetorical fights.
When Costa asked if he believed Trump was a racist, Buttigieg replied, “I think so. If you do racist things and say racist things, the question of whether that makes you a racist is almost academic.”
But Buttigieg proceeded to take shots at Trump’s character.
“I don’t have a problem standing up to somebody who was working on season 7 of celebrity apprentice when I was packing my bags for Afghanistan,” he said, referring to the six months he was deployed in Afghanistan.
Buttigieg accused Trump of faking a disability to avoid getting drafted into the Vietnam war.
“I don’t mean to trivialize disability, but I believe that’s exactly what he did,” he said, referring to Trump’s diagnosis of bone spurs preventing him from getting drafted.
Buttigieg added that he would have been fine with Trump’s diagnosis, but only if he was a “conscientious objector” to the Vietnam war.
“I know that this dredges up wounds from a complicated time, during a complicated war, but I’m also old enough to remember when conservatives talked about character as something that mattered in the presidency,” he said.