Harris: Buttigieg comparing 'struggles' between black, LGBTQ communities is 'a bit naive'

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami A sad reality: In a season of giving, most will ignore America's poor Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday criticized fellow White House hopeful South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegAdvocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D) as being “a bit naive," accusing him of making a comparison between the “struggles” of black and LGBTQ Americans during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate in Atlanta.

She added that it is not productive for those struggling for civil rights to “compare our struggles.”


"Those of us who've been involved in civil rights for a long time we know that it is important that we not compare our struggles," Harris said during a Black Women Power Breakfast hosted by Higher Heights, a national political organization for black women that has endorsed Harris, CBS News reported.

“It is not productive, it is not smart and strategically it works against what we need to do which is build coalition.” 

"We know that in our ongoing fight for civil rights if any one of us starts to differentiate ourselves in a certain way and in particular what he did on the stage, it's just not productive. And I think it's a bit naïve,” Harris continued.

During the Wednesday debate, Buttigieg said he welcomes “the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don’t yet know me,” citing experience as a mayor, his faith and his experiences as a gay man.

"While I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country, turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate," Buttigieg said.

"Wearing this wedding ring in a way that couldn't have happened two elections ago lets me know just how deep my obligation is to help those whose rights are on the line every day, even if they are nothing like me in their experience,” he continued.  

Harris also criticized Buttigieg’s comments immediately after the debate Wednesday, telling CNN “I'm never going to engage or allow anyone to engage in comparing struggles. I think that is just misdirected.”

Buttigieg responded Thursday to Harris’s comments, telling reporters that “there’s no equating those two experiences,” CBS News reported.

"What I do think is important is for each of us to reveal who we are and what motivates us and it's important for voters to understand what makes me tick, what moves me and my sources of motivation and ensuring that I stand up for others," Buttigieg said Thursday. "Last night I shared that some of my sources of motivation included my personal experience, my governing experience and my personal faith."

Buttigieg has seen a surge of support in some key early state polls, including in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he has struggled to gain traction with black voters, a key demographic for Democratic candidates.

A Quinnipiac University poll released this week showed him receiving 0 percent support of black voters in South Carolina.

-- Updated at 5:44 p.m.