Buttigieg: Trump 'does and says racist things and gives cover to other racists'

Buttigieg: Trump 'does and says racist things and gives cover to other racists'

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg: We 'probably are' on cusp of recession Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate MORE (D) called President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE a racist Thursday. 

The South Bend, Ind., mayor said in a live interview with The Washington Post's Robert Costa that Trump not only says and does racist things, but he also gives cover to other racists. 

"If you do racist things, and say racist things, the question of whether that makes you a racist is almost academic," Buttigieg said. "The problem with the president is that he does and says racist things and gives cover to other racists."

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"I mean it’s not an accident that hate crimes rose disproportionately in places that his campaign visited," Buttigieg added, apparently referencing a Washington Post study that found that reported hate crimes increased in counties that hosted a Trump campaign rally in 2016. 

Buttigieg said the study showed how important a presidential candidate's behavior is, saying that the "conduct of our campaigns, not just their outcome," can "affect what happens in this country."

"Without having to examine his heart, there’s no question that we have to respond to the racism that is emanating from this White House," he said. 

Buttigieg has emerged as an insurgent candidate since launching an exploratory committee for president earlier this year.

He has repeatedly taken aim at Trump over his policies and his rhetoric. He said in April that the president uses "white guy identity politics" to divide the working and middle class. 

Multiple 2020 Democratic candidates have branded Trump as a racist, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden faces an uncertain path Bernie Sanders vows to go to 'war with white nationalism and racism' as president Biden: 'There's an awful lot of really good Republicans out there' MORE (I-Vt.) and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJoe Biden faces an uncertain path Biden: 'There's an awful lot of really good Republicans out there' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate MORE (D-Calif.). 

“When you talk about him calling African countries s-hole countries, when you talk about him referring to immigrants as rapists and murderers, I don’t think you can reach any other conclusion," Harris said in February