Buttigieg: 'Americans are being radicalized' by Trump administration

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive former Obama ambassadors back Buttigieg Both sides were wrong about Mueller report, and none of it will likely matter for 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? MORE said in an interview published Thursday that he thinks "a lot of Americans are being radicalized" by the Trump administration.

Speaking with Vox about President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE's support in the "American interior," the South Bend, Ind., mayor said people "are always more vulnerable to being radicalized" when they are economically or socially dislocated.

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"And I think a lot of Americans are being radicalized by this administration. The experience of disruption that’s gone on, especially in the interior, has obviously made it more fertile to being taken advantage of by people like this president," he said.

Buttigieg added, however, that he thinks "improving our economic condition" and achieving racial and social justice "go hand in hand."

"My experience leading a turnaround in an industrial Midwestern city that’s also very racially diverse — where we had to work hard to keep everybody together and make sure what we do is inclusive — demonstrates that these things go hand in hand when it comes to improving our economic condition and making good on our commitments to racial and social justice," he said.

Trump has faced criticism at times during his presidency for not adequately acknowledging or condemning white supremacism, including following the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques earlier this month that left 50 people dead. Trump said following the attack that he didn't think white nationalism was a rising threat, while the White House rejected comments from the attack suspect calling Trump a symbol of "white identity." The president condemned the attack itself at the time, calling it a "horrible massacre."

Buttigieg's comments to Vox come after he told BuzzFeed News's "AM2DM" morning show on Wednesday that he wants to make 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." 

He also accused the Trump administration of having "given cover" for a "resurgence of white nationalism."

"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," he said.