Buttigieg: Trump, Pence 'complicit' in white nationalist revival

Presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegCalifornia Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention CNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' MORE told BuzzFeed News's "AM2DM" morning show that he believes the Trump administration's "negligence if not encouragement" of white nationalism is a security threat. 

“If we really want to talk about security and safety, that has less to do with putting up a wall from sea to shining sea than to making sure people are not continuing to be radicalized into violent white nationalism with what seems at best to be a level of negligence if not encouragement from the highest office in the land,” Buttigieg said on Wednesday's show. 

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He also said he believes fellow Indiana politician Vice President Pence, who previously served as the state's governor, is "at best complicit" with white nationalism.

“In terms of white nationalism, I’m sure that he does not consider himself to be a racist," he said of Pence. "But I think the moment you come on board with a project like the Trump campaign or the Trump-Pence administration, you are at best complicit in the process that has given cover for a flourishing and resurgence of white nationalism in our midst.”

The administration has been criticized for its handling of white supremacist violence, particularly after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in which Heather Heyer, a counterprotester who was against white nationalism, was killed. After the event, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE blamed "many sides" for the Charlottesville, Va., riot, saying there were "very fine people on both sides" of the argument.

Buttigieg is one of more than a dozen Democratic politicians who have launched or are considering a 2020 White House bid. He was once viewed as a long-shot candidate for the nomination, but he has garnered a lot of media attention in recent weeks.