Buttigieg on Renaming Things Named After Thomas Jefferson: ‘It’s the Right Thing to Do’

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Pete Buttigieg, who is running in a crowded Democratic field for president, said on Friday he believes renaming events and things named after President Thomas Jefferson is the "right thing to do."

The South Bend mayor appeared on The Hugh Hewitt Show, where he was asked to weigh in on the name of the annual Indiana Democratic dinner, which was formerly named after party founders and former presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Indiana Democrats changed the name of the annual dinner in 2016.

"Well, let's go to policy now—a very blunt question because you talk about going to every Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Indiana when you were running statewide. Should Jefferson-Jackson dinners be renamed everywhere because both were holders of slaves?" Hewitt asked.

"Yeah, we're doing that in Indiana. I think it's the right thing to do," Buttigieg said. "Over time, you develop and evolve on the things you choose to honor … Jefferson is more problematic. There's a lot of course to admire in his thinking and his philosophy, but then again if you plunge into his writings, especially the notes on the state of Virginia, you know that he knew slavery was wrong."

Buttigieg said, "We are all morally conflicted human beings." While he said Democrats aren't deleting him from the history books or saying he's not a founding father, Buttigieg said naming events after him is a different story.

"The real reason I think there is a lot of pressure on this is the relationship between the past and present that we're finding in a million different ways that racism isn't some curiosity out of the past that we're embarrassed about but moved on from," Buttigieg said. "It's alive. It's well. It's hurting people and it's one of the main reasons to be in politics today is to try to change or reverse  the harms that went along with that."

Cameron Cawthorne

Cameron Cawthorne   Email Cameron | Full Bio | RSS
Cameron Cawthorne is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013. Prior to joining Free Beacon, Cameron was a Legislative Assistant in the Virginia General Assembly and a War Room Analyst at America Rising.

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