Buttigieg: 'I have enormous respect' for Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE said on Saturday that he has "enormous respect" for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLongtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick How Obama just endorsed Trump Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton MORE after his January criticism of her 2016 presidential campaign resurfaced this weekend, according to WSBT.

In a Jan. 14 interview with The Washington Post Magazine, Buttigieg said, "Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE got elected because, in his twisted way, he pointed out the huge troubles in our economy and our democracy."

"At least he didn’t go around saying that America was already great, like Hillary did," he added.

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Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill fired back on Saturday, tweeting that Clinton "ran on a belief in this country & the most progressive platform in modern political history," while Trump "ran on pessimism, racism, false promises, & vitriol."

Asked about his earlier remarks, Buttigieg told Indiana CNN affiliate WSBT that he had "enormous respect" for Clinton and said she was "ill-served by a strategy and media environment" in 2016.

"Just to make this clear, I think America would be a much better place if she were president," he said. "That's why I voted for her, and that's why I campaigned for her, and I have enormous respect for Secretary Clinton."

Buttigieg expanded on his January comments to say Midwesterners perceived Clinton’s 2016 messaging as "basically saying that everything was just fine and we should just believe in the system, and that was unconvincing."

Many people who voted for Trump, he added, "knew that the president was not a great character" but "voted for him just to kind of burn the house down." Buttigieg made similar similar comments after the completion of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s investigation, saying at a Greenville, S.C., event that Trump would not be undone by "some piece of evidence to come along that finally proves once and for all that he's not a good guy."