South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg criticized President Donald Trump on Tuesday for turning the United States into a country that looked more like Russia.
“Russia nationalism, xenophobia, homophobia, and repression of the press are both highly disturbing in that country and disturbingly ascendent in our own country,” Buttigieg warned.
The South Bend mayor delivered a foreign policy speech at the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington. His address was sharply critical of Trump and fit a sober, academic, sophisticated approach to the future that would revert back to Obama-era diplomatic efforts.
He accused Trump of acting “impulsively, erratically, emotionally” in foreign affairs, and said it was “often delivered by early-morning Tweet.”
Buttigieg also alleged that rising white nationalism was more dangerous than radical Islamic terrorism.
“In the past decade, more Americans have been killed in America by right-wing extremists than by those inspired by Al Qaeda and ISIS,” he said. “We need to acknowledge this threat too, and redirect appropriate resources to combat right-wing extremism and violent white nationalism.”
Buttigieg then ridiculed Trump for his efforts to secure peace with North Korea, by communicating with dictator Kim Jong-un.
“You will not see me exchanging love letters on White House letterhead with a brutal dictator who starves and murders his own people,” he said.
Buttigieg also recommitted his support for the Iran Nuclear deal with a joke about Trump’s branding.
“This was perhaps as close to a true ‘art of the deal’ as it gets,” he said, referring to the Iran nuclear deal.
He also criticized Trump for diminishing America’s moral standards, making it harder for America to stand for human rights in the world.
It’s hard to condemn crackdowns on a free president when our own president calls our own news media the enemy of the people,” he said. “It’s hard to stand for human rights abroad when we’re turning away asylum seekers at our own borders.
But Buttigieg also had criticism for Congress, urging them to “repeal and replace” the “blank check” authorization allowing the president to launch wars in various theaters overseas.
He criticized Israel for persecuting Palestinians and said it was not anti-Semitic to oppose the current “right wing” government.
Buttigieg also asserted that climate change was among the biggest threats facing the United States.
“Climate disruption is here … it is a clear and present threat,” he warned, before vowing to create a new international effort for “climate diplomacy” to save the planet from global warming.
“Rejoining Paris is just the beginning,” he said.