Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed during a rally on May 6 that America “was never as great as advertised,” the latest Democratic twist of President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Buttigieg, one of dozens of people trying to earn the Democratic nomination, told supporters that he didn’t agree with Trump’s take.
“So many of the solutions, I believe, are gonna come from our communities. Communities like the one where I grew up, which is an industrial midwestern city. That is exactly the kind of place that our current president targeted with a message saying that we could find greatness by just stopping the clock and turning it back,” he said.
“That past that he is promising to return us to was never as great as advertised, especially for marginalized Americans… and there’s no going back anyway,” he added.
Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg today in South Carolina: America “was never as great as advertised” pic.twitter.com/VdOxexSIHJ
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 6, 2019
Buttigieg, who is openly gay, has endorsed a number of fringe ideas, such as abolishing the death penalty and paying reparations to the descendants of slaves.
Buttigieg was mayor of South Bend, which has a population of about 102, 245, since 2017.
The theme of America’s past not being something to go back to has been talked about by Buttigieg before.
Formally entering the presidential race in mid-April, he told a crowd in South Bend that the past of manufacturing greatness that saw millions of Americans employed in good jobs wasn’t coming back.
“There’s a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities. The myth that we can stop the clock and turn it back. … They’re selling an impossible promise of returning to a bygone era that was never as great as advertised to begin with,” he said, according to the Indianapolis Star.
In the same speech, though, the 37-year-old millennial acknowledged that past generations did increasingly well economically. “We’re a generation that stands to be the first ever in America to come out worse off economically than our parents if we don’t do something truly different,” he said.
Buttigieg’s latest remarks came after former Vice President Joe Biden alluded several times to Trump’s signature slogan.
Making an appearance on April 25 after officially announcing his entry into the presidential race, Biden told a crowd: America’s coming back like we used to be: ethical, straight, tell ’em the truth … supporting our allies, all those good things.” Political commentator @ComfortablySmug wondered on Twitter, “Is this the first Biden gaffe?”
Is this the first Biden gaffe?
Biden: “America is coming back like we used to be: ethical, straight…” pic.twitter.com/hyHWCt98oT
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) April 25, 2019
On “Good Morning America” with his wife Dr. Jill Biden on April 30, Biden was asked directly whether he had a slogan like Trump’s “Make America Great Again.”
“Make America Moral Again,” Biden responded.
“Make America return to the essence of who we are, the dignity of the country, the dignity of people, and treating our people with dignity,” he said.