South Bend, Indiana mayor – and longshot 2020 Democratic presidential candidate – Pete Buttigieg acknowledged that he isn’t the obvious choice to challenge President Trump for the White House, but said that his experience as mayor of the college town gives him “front line, government experience” that is needed in Washington.
Speaking during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, the 37-year-old Buttigieg touted his experience as a small town mayor while laying out his platform on issues ranging from health care to foreign policy.
“I get the audacity of somebody like me talking about running for this office, but frankly it’s a leap for anybody,” Buttigieg said. “All of the people who had that job have been mortals who just bring their experience to the table. My experience is that of guiding a city through a transformation, and I think a mayor at any level has the kind of executive, front line, government experience — and by the way, problem-solving experience — that we need more in Washington right now.”
Buttigieg said that he agrees with his fellow Democratic candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, on the issue of “Medicare-for-all,” but that he differs from her when it comes to doing away completely with private insurance.
“There can be a role for the private sector,” he said. “If we want to make Medicare available to everybody, whether it’s as a public option to buy in or simply establishing that as how the payer structure works in this country, that’s going to be the center of gravity. And the bottom line is we need to make sure that every American is able to get health care.”
Buttigieg also weighed in on the tense situation in Venezuela, where disputed President Nicolas Maduro is under intense pressure – both internally and from the global community – to relinquish power amid threats from Trump to use U.S. military power to force the leader out of office. The Trump administration has imposed sanctions against the regime and backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself interim president.
“I agree with the fact that Maduro has lost his legitimacy,” he said. “I think it is extremely irresponsible to talk about committing American troops to what could wind up being a proxy or war with countries that have claims on Venezuelan oil.”