It’s no secret South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has struggled with Black voters. Now it appears he is struggling with Black folks on his staff.
According to the New York Times, in a series of staff meetings, Black and Latinix employees voiced their concerns about how they were being treated. Current and former staff members of color said “they believed that senior Buttigieg officials didn’t listen to their concerns and ideas about the campaign.”
Latinx employees claimed they felt disrespected after being asked to translate text messages even though they didn’t speak Spanish. Others said they felt disrespected by their white colleagues.
The New York Times reports one incident in which “the campaign had planned a fund-raiser with a donor who had helped try to suppress the release of video showing the police shooting of a Black Chicago teenager. Some members of the vetting team had warned against doing the fund-raiser with the donor as co-host. Campaign fund-raising officials proceeded anyway, and at the last minute, amid an outcry, were forced to remove the donor as co-host and return his donation.” The Chicago teen was 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot 16 times in 14 seconds in 2014.
In response, Buttigieg, 38, said in a statement to NYT, “We’re proud of the staffers who stood up and made their voices heard to help our campaign improve and be more inclusive. We realize that we can always do better and these honest discussions are how we make progress, and we will continue to provide our staff the safe space to have them.”
Buttigieg continues to struggle with Black voters. According to Politico, he has invested more money advertising in South Carolina than any of the non-billionaire Democrats running for president. Nonetheless, he is still polling at only 2 percent among African American Democrats in the state. The South Carolina primary is Feb. 29 and the Black vote crucial to winning the state.
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