Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg successfully engaged a heckler while campaigning for his party’s nominee, Joe Biden, in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Wednesday.
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was speaking at a “Pride at the Polls” event to drum up votes from the LGBTQ community when a man wearing a red “Keep America Great 2020” hat began shouting and filming himself near the podium.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who cares just as much about protecting the lives of those that protest us as those who stand at our side?” Buttigieg said during the disruption, prompting cheers from the crowd.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who does not believe in violence against those who disagree with him?” he continued. “Are you not proud to be an American in a country that makes room for all of us, but whose values include rejecting hate and rejecting those who would deny science when it could save lives?”
As the man continued to shout, Buttigieg added: “And don’t you feel a little sorry for a president who finds it necessary to draw this kind of support?
“But it’s OK, sir, because when Joe Biden is president, you will be safer too,” he added.
Buttigieg resumed his speech as the man continued to shout, but was disrupted again when two of the event’s attendees approached the heckler.
“OK, dude, but, can I finish my remarks?” the former presidential candidate said, addressing the man directly. “Are you afraid to hear what I have to say?”
The man didn’t back down, so Buttigieg asked, “Do you denounce white supremacy?”
“Yes!” the man yelled.
“Good! Then we agree on something. That’s a beginning point,” Buttigieg replied.
“See if you can get your president to do the same thing!” he added.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly skirted around condemning white supremacists during his presidency, including at the first presidential debate last month, when he told far-right hate group Proud Boys to “stand by” before condemning them days later on Fox News after bipartisan backlash.
Biden and Trump have both been stumping in Florida, a key battleground state, in the final days before the Nov. 3 election. Polls show Biden with a narrow lead in the state, which tipped in Trump’s favor in 2016.
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