MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), a surrogate for 2020 Democrat candidate Pete Buttigieg, argued that the African American community in South Bend, Indiana — where he was mayor for eight years — “overwhelmingly” supports him.
“He’s made a lot of progress in the city that was a decade ago written off as dead or dying but today is not only surviving but thriving. There’s been a real economic resurgence, a successful urban redevelopment and black unemployment is down 70 percent, black wealth is up 40 percent, homelessness is down,” he said.
“The African American community knows people who have actually worked with him, tackling difficult problems, seeing that progress doesn’t happen in straight lines and sometimes it comes in fits and starts. That community in South Bend supports Buttigieg. Overwhelmingly supports Buttigieg,” he added.
Brown’s remarks come amid criticism from other candidates that African Americans do not support Buttigieg.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a Saturday interview with ABC News that Buttigieg has not demonstrated he can unify African Americans or minorities.
“I’m saying he hasn’t been able to unify the black community — that’s what I’m saying,” he said, arguing that African American legislators in South Bend have endorsed him instead.
Biden’s campaign also recently released a video highlighting the demotion of South Bend’s African American police chief and what they argue was the forcing out of its African American fire chief.
The video, tweeted by Biden, said, “When public pressure mounted against him, former Mayor Pete fired the first African American Police Chief of South Bend. And then he forced out the African American fire chief, too.”
Former Mayor Pete doesn’t think very highly of the Obama-Biden record. Let’s compare. pic.twitter.com/132TB7MHaq
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) February 8, 2020
According to ABC News, Buttigieg said he demoted the city’s police chief, Darryl Boykins, after he failed to inform him the department was under federal investigation for allegations Boykins ordered people to secretly record racist comments by senior white police officers.
The fire chief reportedly submitted retirement papers in 2010, but changed his mind after Buttigieg’s election. By then, he had already named a successor.