Buttigieg defends decision to attend debate despite South Bend controversy

Buttigieg defends decision to attend debate despite South Bend controversy
© Greg Nash

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Krystal Ball rips Warren's 'passive-aggressive' swipes at rivals Buttigieg: I share a lot of the same values as people protesting my fundraisers MORE, a 2020 presidential contender, is defending his decision to attend the first Democratic debates despite tensions in his after a white police officer fatally shot a black man.

"We have to be able to do many things at once," Buttigieg said in an MSNBC interview on Wednesday, indicating his plans to attend the debate.

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"This is not just a policy question, this is a moral question," he continued. "And everything that all of us do, we do in the shadow of systemic racism that has poisoned the relationship between communities of color and police departments everywhere in the country.”

Buttigieg previously spoke with residents of South Bend during a tense Sunday town hall meeting.

"What I found on that stage at that town hall was, it was my job to absorb all of that pain, absorb all of that anguish, knowing that I could talk about all of the things we've done, but clearly we haven't done enough," he said on MSNBC. "And accepting responsibility for that because I'm in charge."

There will be two nights of debate, with 10 candidates appearing on Wednesday night. Buttigieg will join nine other Democratic presidential contenders on the debate stage on Thursday night.