Buttigieg at Fox News Town Hall in Claremont: ‘I don’t care’ About Trump’s Tweets

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Screen shot of Fox News Town Hall

Mayor Pete Buttigieg at Sunday night's Fox News Town Hall with moderator Chris Wallace at Stevens High School in Claremont.

VIDEO: Mayor Pete’s Fox News Town Hall, part 1

Part 2: https://video.foxnews.com/v/6038665726001/#sp=show-clips

Part 3: https://video.foxnews.com/v/6038675902001/#sp=show-clips/featured

On the President’s tweets: “I don’t care”… “I think that we need to make sure that we’re changing the channel from this show that he’s created.”

On reproductive rights: “I believe that the right of a woman to make her own decisions about her reproductive health and about her body is a national right. I believe it is an American freedom.”

On justice: “It’s not going to get fixed without policies that specifically pay attention to how those racial inequities got there.”

What People Are Saying About Mayor Pete’s Fox News Town Hall

“Buttigieg was very well received by the Fox News town hall audience and his comments prompted repeated enthusiastic applause.” – NBC News

“By appearing on Fox News, Buttigieg — who’s quickly risen from almost complete unknown to one of the most prominent Democrats in the country — further introduced himself to an audience that might otherwise not know him.” – Politico

“Pete Buttigieg shuts down a conservative talking point about abortion rights” – Vox

“Watched @PeteButtigieg townhall on Fox News. He’s so comfortable answering questions, regardless of venue. Hearing him go after Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham on their own network was glorious & worth watching.” – Ana Navarro

NBC News: Buttigieg attacks Fox News hosts at Fox News town hall

Pete Buttigieg used a nationally televised Fox News town hall on Sunday night to blast a pair of the network’s most prominent hosts.

Buttigieg, who came under fire from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party for taking part in the Fox News event in Claremont, N.H., took direct aim at the network watched closely by President Donald Trump and other conservatives.

“A lot of people in my party were critical of me doing this, and I get where that’s coming from, especially when you see what goes on with some of the opinion hosts on this network,” Buttigieg told Fox News host Chris Wallace.

Buttigieg cited “Tucker Carlson saying immigrants make America dirty” and “Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps.” Wallace did not address Buttigieg’s attacks on the two hosts.

“There’s a reason anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem,” Buttigieg said. “But I also believe that even though some of those hosts are not always there in good faith, I think a lot of people tune into this network who do it in good faith.”

“And there are a lot of Americans who my party can’t blame if they are ignoring our message, because they will never hear it if we don’t go on and talk about it,” he continued, adding that “we have to find people where they are, not change our values, but update our vocabulary so that we’re truly connecting with Americans coast to coast.”


Moments after the town hall ended, veteran Fox News journalist Brit Hume slammed Trump for “barely” facing interviews from reporters like Wallace, while lauding Buttigieg for doing so.

“Say this for Buttigieg,” Hume tweeted. “He’s willing to be questioned by Chris Wallace, something you’ve barely done since you’ve been president.”

Buttigieg was very well received by the Fox News town hall audience and his comments prompted repeated enthusiastic applause.

CNN: Buttigieg takes to Fox News and slams Fox News

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg used a Fox News town hall in New Hampshire on Sunday to slam two of the network’s primetime opinion hosts, knocking both Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham by name on the network where they each host an hour.

Buttigieg directly attacked Trump, Fox News’ most high-profile viewer, who pre-butted Buttigieg’s town hall by attacking the network for hosting the event.

Politico: Buttigieg finds friends on Fox as he calls out ‘grotesque’ Trump attacks

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg shrugged off insults President Donald Trump has lobbed at him over Twitter and in a recent interview saying he just didn’t care.


The comments and the loud applause came during one of the more lively exchanges in the wide-ranging event, which also featured biographical footage of the mayor from Indiana. It also underscored the approach Buttigieg has taken in dealing with Trump and Fox News, an approach that contrasts with some other Democratic presidential candidates.

By appearing on Fox News, Buttigieg — who’s quickly risen from almost complete unknown to one of the most prominent Democrats in the country — further introduced himself to an audience that might otherwise not know him.


To someone who doesn’t regularly watch Fox News, the setting might have been surprising. The audience was receptive to some of the most liberal lines Buttigieg offered and despite some crosstalk between the host and the South Bend mayor, the interactions were fairly cordial.

USA Today: ‘I don’t care’: Buttigieg draws applause at Fox News town hall for dismissing Trump’s tweets

Pete Buttigieg got an enthusiastic reception at a Fox News town hall Sunday when he explained the importance of restoring moral authority to the office of president and appointing judges that back reproductive rights.

But the response that generated one of the biggest rounds of applause was his dismissal of Trump’s signature form of communication.

“The tweets are – I don’t care,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said when asked how he would deal with Trump’s tweets and insults if he wins the nomination.

In fact, two hours before the event at a New Hampshire high school, Trump criticized the network for “wasting airtime” on Buttigieg.

Vox: Pete Buttigieg shuts down a conservative talking point about abortion rights

During a Fox News town hall on Sunday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was confronted with a common conservative talking point on abortion rights — and he didn’t take the bait.

As Buttigieg emphasized to Wallace, however, not only is the proportion of women getting an abortion in the third trimester very small, the decision to have an abortion — at any point in pregnancy — should be a woman’s choice.

During a Fox News town hall on Sunday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was confronted with a common conservative talking point on abortion rights — and he didn’t take the bait.

“The dialogue has gotten so caught up in where you draw the line. I trust women to draw the line,” he said.

Wallace followed up and pressed Buttigieg on that point, but the Mayor did not change his stance. Buttigieg’s response highlights just how much conservative critiques of abortion rights have focused far more on fear-mongering, than they do on addressing the realities of when people have abortions.

Reuters: Democratic Presidential hopeful Buttigieg draws crowd for Fox town hall

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday called for higher taxes on the wealthy, backed abortion rights and promised to run what he called an inclusive campaign in a New Hampshire town hall broadcast on Fox News.

“We’re not just living through another election,” Buttigieg said. “I believe we’re living through one of those transitions in American history as consequential as the ones that brought us the New Deal or the Reagan Revolution.”


Fox host Chris Wallace said in introducing Buttigieg that his appearance on the network had drawn the largest in-person audience of any town hall so far.

The Hill: Buttigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don’t hear Dems’ message

Buttigieg did not miss an opportunity to take a shot at two of Fox News’s prominent opinion hosts, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson.

“I get where that’s coming from, especially when you see what’s going with some of the opinion hosts on this network,” he said, referring to those who disagreed with him for appearing on Fox News. “When you get Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty, when you got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps. Summer camps?”

New York Post: Buttigieg ‘doesn’t care’ about Trump’s trolling, slams tax cuts

What, Pete worry?

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday evening shrugged off trolling by President Trump — who likened him to “Mad” magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman last week — during a Fox News town hall Sunday where he laid out stances on abortions and taxes.

During the event, Buttigieg called abortion a “national right” and an “American freedom” and said he “trusts women to draw the line” about limits on when the procedure should be conducted.

On Twitter

John Harwood  @JohnJHarwood: lots of heads nodding for Buttigieg at Fox town hall

Dan Merica  @merica: Buttigieg hit Carlson for saying immigrants make the country dirty and Ingraham comparing detention centers with children to summer camps. It was pretty stark to see someone go after Carlson and Ingraham on the network where they are top talent.

Brit Hume  @brithume: Say this for Buttigieg. He’s willing to be questioned by Chris Wallace, something you’ve barely done since you’ve been president. Oh, and covering candidates of both parties is part of the job of a news channel.

Ana Navarro-Cardenas @ananavarro Quick thought before we go into #GOT mode. Watched @PeteButtigieg townhall on Fox News. He’s so comfortable answering questions, regardless of venue. Hearing him go after Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham on their own network was glorious & worth watching. It’s starting. Adios.

Dan Diamond @ddiamond Between those clips, Mayor Pete got about two minutes straight on Fox News to make the case for abortion — interrupted only by applause.Continues trend of Democrats taking messages to Fox News that its viewers rarely hear.

That Michael Caputo  @MichaelRCaputo: I disagree with much of what @PeteButtigieg is saying on @FoxNews tonight but I can see why he caught fire: he’s smart, likable, interesting, measured, and respectful. If he can raise the dough he’s likely one of the few candidates in the Dem primary to the end. He’s unique.

Judson Berger @JuddBerger Daenerys ‘made some highly questionable leadership decisions’. There were some well-landed lines at tonight’s #ButtigiegTownHall but that one killed. And his riff on ‘the nature of grotesque things’ struck a chord it seemed. I suspect Mayor Pete will have more than a moment

Simon Rosenberg @SimonWDC One of the best moments of the Trump era.  Thanks to Mayor Pete for getting in this thing and helping us find our voice.

Pat Cunnane  @PatCunnane: I’m conflicted about Democrats appearing on @FoxNews, but it’s hard to watch this @PeteButtigieg townhall and think it’s anything but a huge success for him.

Chrys Kefalas  @CKefalas: Mayor @PeteButtigieg is so right. At the end of the day, it’s worth trusting voters to evaluate you for who you are. As I saw, they do that when they know you.

Matt Doyle  @MattfDoyle: I completely understand both sides of the argument…but I have a lot of family that watches Fox News. I hate that they do, but I’m thrilled they get the chance to listen to @PeteButtigieg.

Dan Merica  @merica: Very interesting: Buttigieg uses his Fox News town hall to call out Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham – by name – for comments they have made. “There is a reason why anyone has to swallow hard and think twice” before going on Fox, he says.

Jeff Greenfield @greenfield64 They will do that after CNN and MSNBC twon hall, or after campaign appearances. But watch what Mayor Pete did tonight…to a standing ovation. Think he may have impressed a few FOX-watchers?

Christopher J. Hale  @chrisjollyhale: .@PeteButtigieg is crushing it on Fox News right now. I think @Lis_Smith absolutely made the right call putting him on this network. Our next President must speak to the entire nation—even in the most surprising of places.

Mo Elleithee  @MoElleithee: Mayor @PeteButtigieg is really, really good in this format.

Maeve Reston  @MaeveReston: FWIW @PeteButtigieg seems to be having a perfectly fine time at the @FoxNews Town Hall & has repeatedly gotten sustained applause for his answers, including for his story of coming out.

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Charlotte Clymer??  @cmclymer: Really great answer from @PeteButtigieg on Trump pardoning service members convicted of heinous crimes, doesn’t hesitate to call them “war criminals” and talks about how Trump’s pardons are undermining American moral authority and putting troops at risk. #ButtigiegTownHall

Vanessa Yurkevich  @vyurkevich:

Tonight in his @FoxNews Town Hall, @PeteButtigieg took on the network’s own anchors, abortion, student debt, whether or not the country is ready for a gay president, and how he’ll go up against Trump. The audience in NH was wildly receptive, curious about the audience at home.

Philip Rucker: “I’ve gotta tell ya, and you can feel it, this is a hot ticket. More people have shown up for this town hall than any of our previous ones,” Chris Wallace says at start of Pete Buttigieg town hall, shortly after President Trump rebuked Fox News for airing it.

NYT Live Stream

Maggie Haberman:

Chris Wallace is making clear that there’s wide interest in their audience in Mayor Pete.

Matt Flegenheimer:

Bernie got a reasonably warm response in his Fox town hall, too. So far it’s been basically universal cheers for Pete.

Astead Herndon:

Yep. I also think the sparring that comes with Fox questions lends itself to candidates like Buttigieg, who is pretty good on his feet. Lots of opportunities for those applause lines.

Jonathan Martin:

A great opportunity for a candidate who popped early but has faced some tough scrutiny in recent weeks to remind his admirers why they like him.

KEY EXCERPTS:

ON HIS DECISION TO APPEAR ON FOX NEWS:

Now the other things that we’ve got to do, is we’ve got to find people where they are. You know a lot of folks in my party were critical of me for even doing this with Fox News.  And I get where that’s coming from, especially when you see what’s going on with some of the 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 centers with children in cages to summer camps — summer camps — then there is a reason why — everyone has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem.  But I also believe that even though some of those hosts are not always there in good faith, I think a lot of people tune into this network who do do it in good faith. And there are a lot of Americans that my party can’t blame if they are ignoring our message because they will never hear it if we don’t go on and talk about it. And so it’s why, whether it’s going on the viewership of Fox News or whether geographically it’s going into places where Democrats haven’t been seen much, I think we have to find people where they are — not change our values, but update our vocabulary so that we’re truly connecting with Americans from coast to coast.

ON THE PRESIDENT:

Chris Wallace: Again I would like to pursue that a little bit with you Mayor. And I’m less talking about policies than the dynamic of running against Donald Trump, because we saw in 2016 he is a formidable candidate and a very unconventional candidate. He’s already making fun of your name, making fun of your looks, comparing you to Alfred E Neuman. If you say “what me worry?” right now I’ll give you $10. But seriously, how would you deal with him? Because that’s one of the concerns with Democrats who would be on the debate stage: how would you handle the insults and the attacks and the tweets and all of that?

Pete Buttigieg: The tweets are — I don’t care.

Pete Buttigieg: Well it’s a really effective way to get the attention of the media. I think that we need to make sure that we’re changing the channel from this show that he’s created, because what matters, and I get it. Look, it’s mesmerizing, it’s hard for anyone to look away. It is the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away. But every time we’re looking at the show and the latest tweet and the latest silly insult, what we’re not looking at is the fact that we’re the ones trying to get you a raise, and they’re the ones blocking it. We’re the ones trying to preserve your health care and they’re the ones trying to take it away. We’re the ones who are actually prepared to deliver on something like paid family leave, and they’re against it. Their positions, as a general rule, are unpopular, and if you focus on what’s going to happen in your life, in other words if we make it less about him and more about you, paradoxically I actually think that’s the best way to defeat him.  

ON LESSONS FROM SERVING HIS COUNTRY & THE PRESIDENT’S PROPOSED PLAN TO PARDON WAR CRIMINALS:

The other thing that I learned while I was abroad even during these challenging times — at least my deployment of course was before this presidency — how much respect people have for our country. I really could feel that when I walked into a room, especially on a ISAF headquarters base where you had people from every country in our coalition, that that flag that was on my shoulder represented a country that was known for keeping its word. Even our enemies viewed us that way. And however imperfectly we’ve upheld our values, I could feel how important that was to our safety — as important as my body armor. And when I read reports that the president is considering pardoning or even preemptively pardoning war criminals even after they have been tried by a jury of their peers — meaning that other US service members in a legal proceeding determine that they had committed crimes — that is undermining the foundation of American moral authority and I think in the long run that it’s putting troops at risk.

ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS:

Pete Buttigieg: I believe that the right of a woman to make her own decisions about her reproductive health and about her body is a national right. I believe it is an American freedom. And I believe that should be enjoyed by women in every state. Now being a Democrat with pro-choice values who lives and governs in a community in Indiana, I get that there are a lot of passionate views on this, a lot of people I care about, there’s even some of my supporters believe differently than I do, but that’s what I believe.  And I believe that the next president needs to be ready to protect those rights.

First of all, and the simplest thing, is appointing justices and judges who recognize that is a part of American freedom. Another is to make sure that we’re not starving America of resources not just for that kind of reproductive care, abortion care, but all kinds of reproductive care. If we really care about women, if we really care about life, then we’ve got to make sure from common sense sex education to access to birth control, that we’re preventing many of those unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place.

Pete Buttigieg: I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up on where you draw the line that we’ve away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line and I trust women to draw the line when it’s their own health.

Chris Wallace: So just to be clear, you’re saying you would be okay with a woman, well into the third trimester deciding to abort her pregnancy.

Pete Buttigieg: Look, these hypotheticals are usually set up in order to provoke a strong emotional

Chris Wallace: It’s not hypothetical, there are 6,000 women a year who get abortions in the third trimester.

Pete Buttigieg: That’s right, representing less than 1% of cases. So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation. If it’s that late in your pregnancy, then it’s almost by definition, you’ve been expecting to carry it to term. We’re talking about women who have perhaps chosen a name. Women who have purchased a crib, families that then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime, something about the health or the life of the mother that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice. And the bottom line is as horrible as that choice is, that woman, that family may seek spiritual guidance, they may seek medical guidance, but that decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.

ON WHY HIS CAMPAIGN IS DIFFERENT:

Pete Buttigieg: Look — what we’re trying to do here is different. Because the moment that we’re in is different. I get that a millennial midwestern mayor is not what leaps to mind when you think about a prototypical candidate for president. But I also think that 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 in American history. And what comes next could be ugly — or it could be amazing. And 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 that we’ve had so far.

ON PROMOTING DIVERSITY:

Pete Buttigieg: Well, as you said it’s a point of pride for the Democratic party that we care about diversity, that we want to make sure that our leadership reflects the country that we serve. I sought to do that in my administration as mayor, I’m doing that with the campaign team that I’m surrounding myself with.

But as you said it’s not just a question of the makeup of your team, it’s what your policies are going to be, and we need to make sure this is an inclusive set of policies that is going to serve everybody well. For example, we know just by the numbers that if you’re a person of color in this country, in many ways you might as well be living in a different country. You look at the rate at which black women are likely to die from maternal complications, it’s about three times what it is for white women. That didn’t just happen, and it’s not going to get fixed without policies that specifically pay attention to how those racial inequities got there, in health but also in areas like housing, employment, and of course the criminal justice system that frankly does not treat everybody the same. So whether it’s an agenda for black Americans or whether it’s making sure that LGBTQ Americans are protected, which is obviously a big concern right now with the policies and the behavior coming out of Washington. So whether it’s making sure immigrants are treated fairly, disabled people, women — just about everyone of us, in some way, belongs to a group that could be marginalized if we don’t have the right kind of policies to lift all of us up. And those are the kinds of policies we’re going to be talking about throughout this campaign.

ON GENERATIONAL CHANGE:

Pete Buttigieg: You know, what the world is going to look like in the 2050s isn’t just something I think about or write about or wonder about, it’s — hopefully — going to be my life too. And that’s why making sure we actually do something about climate change, making sure we actually have a fiscally sustainable path. I know it’s not as fashionable in my party to talk about deficits, but you look at what the Republican Congress did by blowing a trillion dollar hole in our budget with a tax cut for the rich that America did not need, these problems will be visited on the heads of not just my children and grandchildren but me, and people in my generation too. And I think it gives me an ability to speak to those issues.  

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