Buttigieg says he has 'batting practice' dealing with bullies

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegCastro hits fundraising threshold for December debate On The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading NYT editorial board calls on Buttigieg to disclose details of work at consulting firm MORE says he has “no shortage” of experience dealing with bullies.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who is openly gay, was asked during an interview airing Saturday for the premiere of MSNBC's "Saturday Night Politics with Donny Deutsch" about his experiences growing up and whether he was ever picked on as a child.

“I have no shortage of batting practice when it comes to dealing with bullies. It’s one of the reasons I’m not going to hesitate to get into the arena here with some of the toughest and most morally challenged people that we’ve seen in a long time in politics,” he said.

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Buttigieg recalled a time in high school when he said another student hit him in the back to “get a rise” out of him.

“This kid just kind of hit me from behind in order to get a rise out of me, and then I just turned around and looked him in the eye, and I’ve never seen somebody back off so quick. And what I realized is sometimes when somebody’s lashing out, when they’re hitting you like that, it’s not because of you. It’s because of them,” he said.

Buttigieg, who saw a rapid rise in polling momentum in recent weeks that has since slowed, has made similar remarks in the past. The mayor told CNN in February when asked about potential attacks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE or other presidential candidates that as "a gay man from Indiana, I know how to deal with a bully." 

The Indiana mayor has early on in his White House bid had to respond to homophobic protesters as he travels the country.