Buttigieg: Democrats Need to Stop Being ‘A**holes’ About Challenging Republicans

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Derek Henkle/AFP/Getty Images)

South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg said members of his party have to stop being "assholes" when challenging Republicans.

"Is there anything that is considered right now a progressive idea and that the Democrats are associated with that you wish the Democrats would ditch?" Ryan Lizza asked Buttigieg in an interview for Esquire.

"I think a lot of it is tonal. You just gotta make sure that even as we demonstrate we can fight those in power right now—stand up to them and reject everything that's wrong and correct everything that's false—but we don't have to be assholes about it," Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg has criticized his party in the past. During an interview with Pod Save America on March 1, he slammed Democrats' "condescension" toward supporters of President Donald Trump, saying the party lost in 2016 because it abandoned voters in the middle of the country.

Buttigieg also hasn't shied away from employing colorful language to make his point. In the March 1 podcast interview, he made up a hypothetical example of Democrats patronizing voters in the middle of America.

"You know, a liberal lawyer from Los Angeles walks up to a guy in Indiana who’s a working class guy and says, ‘you’re voting against your economic interests.' You know what that guy’s gonna say back? ‘So are you, fuck off.’ You know, I mean, yeah. People understand that there’s more to their vote than economics," Buttigieg said.

In the Esquire interview, Buttigieg expressed support for a public option, saying he supports "Medicare for all who want it" with the ultimate goal of transitioning to single-payer health care. He also said the Green New Deal is a "sound framework" for addressing climate change.

Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) "Medicare for all" proposal is estimated to cost over $30 trillion, while the Green New Deal could approach a $100 trillion price tag.

A recent CNN poll showed Buttigieg receiving 1 percent support in the field of Democratic candidates.