Biden: Buttigieg 'doesn't have significant black support even in his own city'

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) hit 2020 rival Pete Buttigieg (D) on Sunday over the South Bend, Ind., mayor's struggle to gain ground with black voters.

Buttigieg, who has surged in some recent polling of the Democratic primary, has remained in the single digits in South Carolina, where roughly two-thirds of the state's Democratic electorate is black.

"Mayor Pete obviously has had difficulty garnering black support in his own city," Biden told Axios on Sunday.

When questioned on why he thought that was by Axios's Mike Allen, Biden continued, "Whether it was good, bad, or indifferent, the firing of an African American police chief, the [police-involved] shooting."

Those issues, Biden added, were "why he doesn't have significant black support, even in his own city."

Buttigieg's campaign did not immediately issue a comment on Biden's remarks when contacted by The Hill Sunday evening.

The South Bend mayor has risen in some national polling as well as polling of early primary states in recent days, and now is positioned as a top contender to win the first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa.

In June, his campaign released a "Douglass Plan" for black America, named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, that, among other provisions, would increase investments in historically black colleges and universities and pass a modern version of the Voting Rights Act.

Buttigieg's efforts to build black support for his presidential bid are likely to come up at next Thursday's debate in Los Angeles, where the top contenders are all set to meet onstage after weeks of bitter back-and-forth clashes in the media.