Pete Buttigieg tears into Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham at Fox News town hall before receiving standing ovation

'There is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem,' says Democratic presidential candidate 

Chris Baynes
Monday 20 May 2019 16:33
Comments
Pete Buttigieg slams Fox News hosts

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has received a standing ovation from a Fox News audience following a broadcast in which he tore into two of the network’s presenters and branded Donald Trump “grotesque”.

The 2020 candidate ignored calls from some Democrats for the party to boycott the right-wing channel - one of the president's favourites to watch - taking questions from voters in a town hall session in Claremont, New Hampshire.

Defending appearing despite concerns about the network’s bias towards Republicans and its close relationship with the US president, he said: “I get where that’s coming from especially when you see what goes on with some opinion hosts on this network.

“I mean when you’ve got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty, when you’ve got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centres with children in cages to summer camps … then there is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem.”

But he added that “even though some of those hosts are not always there in good faith, I think a lot of people who tune into this network do it in good faith”.

Mr Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend in Indiana, said he also understood why people – including the media – were “mesmerised” by Mr Trump’s tweets.

"It is the nature of grotesque things that you can't look away,” he said.

The president suggested Fox News was “wasting airtime” on the 37-year-old Democrat, who has no experience on the national stage.

“Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems,” he tweeted on Sunday.

"Alfred E Newman will never be President,” he added, likening Mr Buttigieg to US humour magazine Mad’s fictitious child mascot Alfred E Neumann.

Asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace how he responded to such name-calling, Mr Buttigieg replied: “Don’t care.”

He said Democrats needed to spend less time focusing on Mr Trump and more talking about what they would do for the American people.

Mr Buttigieg, who would be the first openly gay president if elected, conceded a “millennial, midwestern mayor is not what leaps to mind when you think about a prototypical candidate” for the White House.

But he told the audience in a closing speech: “What we’re trying to do here is different because the moment that we’re in is different.

“If it’s hard to figure out what’s going on right now, it’s because we are living on one of those blank pages in between chapters of American history. And what comes next could be ugly or it could be amazing.

“I believe running for office is an act of hope, and so is voting for somebody, and supporting somebody and volunteering for somebody. I hope you’ll join me in making sure that that next era is better than any we’ve had so far.”

The crowd stood up and applauded as he finished the speech, prompting Mr Wallace to exclaim: “Wow, a standing ovation.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

The Democratic National Committee said earlier this year it would block Fox News from hosting its candidates’ political debates ahead of next year’s election.

Committee chairman Tom Perez said a New Yorker expose on the “inappropriate relationship” between the president and the network had cast doubt on its ability to host “fair and neutral” political coverage.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in