Buttigieg says it’s ‘bulls—‘ that he worked on ‘corporate price fixing’
Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) lashed out at a New York Times editorial board member during an interview on Dec. 11 that touched on the subject of his work for McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm.
During a conversation, published Thursday, about his work for the firm, Times opinion writer Binyamin Appelbaum asserted that the former mayor had “direct experience” with the issues over which many younger Americans feel resentment toward older generations, pointing both to his service in the military and his time at McKinsey.
“If I can put this question in a slightly different way, you’ve been on the front lines of corporate downsizing. You’ve been on the front lines of corporate price fixing,” Appelbaum told Buttigieg.
“You’ve been on the front of our misadventures in foreign policy. You’ve had direct experience in many of the things that make a lot of young people very angry about the way that this country is operating right now. You don’t seem to embody that anger,” Appelbaum continued after Buttigieg interrupted.
“So the proposition that I’ve been on front lines of corporate price fixing is bullshit. Just to get that out of the way,” Buttigieg responded.
“You worked for a company that was fixing bread prices,” Appelbaum countered.
“No, I worked for a consulting company that had a client that may have been involved in fixing or was apparently in a scandal. I was not aware of the Canadian bread pricing scandal until last night,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg revealed last year that he was involved in efforts to help Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws set in-store prices for various items during his time at McKinsey, an admission that drew scrutiny over Loblaws’s involvement in a price-fixing scandal involving the price of bread at its various store locations.
His campaign denied at the time that the 2020 hopeful was involved in the scandal.
“He was part of a team that ran analytics and put together a model to help this supermarket chain determine how much — and in what stores— they could make certain items more affordable in order to gain new customers,” said spokesman Sean Savitt in December.
“We retained McKinsey in 2008 to better understand how we could lower prices for customers across a number of categories,” added Loblaws in a statement. “That was the extent of their work with us during that time.”
When asked specifically if Buttigieg had been involved in the bread price fixing, a spokesman for the company denied that the mayor was involved.