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PHILADELPHIA — The Pennsylvania Delegation breakfast Tuesday morning saved the most impactful guest speaker for last as an mayor from Indiana gave some information on his governor — and Republican vice presidential candidate — Mike Pence.
“(I wanted) to let you all know a little bit about the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee from the front lines of somebody who has been working to lead a city in Indiana,” said Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend. “I don’t think that most Americans are aware of just how extreme he is. We’re talking probably the most extreme ideological pick in my lifetime. There would be very serious consequences to having him as Vice President, especially in a presidency like what Donald Trump has in mind.”
As the mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg has turned the city around from being listed in a magazine as one of the 10 American dying cities the week he entered the race five years ago to now having the city’s largest population growth in a quarter century.
And he did all that as America’s youngest mayor of a city with over 100,000 residents when he was sworn into office in 2012 at the age of 29.
Buttigieg also does intelligence work with the Navy Reserves, having handed South Bend over to an appointed Deputy Mayor while he served in Afghanistan in 2014 and is gay.
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“(Pence) lost the respect of business Republicans and Democrats in the state of Indiana by signing a bill that would have made it legal to discriminate against LGBT people so long as you remember to use religion as an excuse after the fact,” Buttigieg said. “I think this is especially important because Donald Trump is trying to position himself as a friend of the LGBT community.
“Even before this pick of a vice president, I think we ought to reflect that no matter what specific policy positions he plans to have, no one as comfortable singling out vulnerable groups for abuse as Donald Trump ought to be ever considered a friend to LGBT community, no matter what his specific policies are.”
Hinting to Trump’s often controversial comments regarding ethnic groups and racial groups, Buttigieg said that adding Pence to the ticket is just another example of his eagerness to be hostile to others.
“(In) choosing Mike Pence, it is almost as though he was going through a list — ‘Alright, I’ve got the disabled, the Native Americans, the African Americans. Are there any Americans left I haven’t alienated yet?,’” he said. “And then he found a way.”
In being a mayor in Indiana, Buttigieg has had firsthand experience in trying to work with Pence, but without success, as he told the gathered Pennsylvanians.
“When you’re a mayor, you’re trying to build jobs and grow the reputation of your community,” he said. “When we started to be perceived as backwards because of (Pence’s) obsession with social issues, it really hurt us trying to get work done, which is not partisan work. I’m just trying to fill in holes in the road and create jobs and create opportunities. It really set us back.”
To impart more concern over a person who could become second-in-line to lead the country, he cited some of the vice presidential nominee’s track record as governor and imploring why it’s important to get Hillary Clinton elected as president.
“Unfortunately, Mike Pence is not regarded in the state of Indiana as an effective governor,” Buttigieg said. “He sent back $80 million in unspent pre-kindergarten money to Washington because he didn’t want to be caught cooperating with a Democratic president. He created a state-run news agency that drew comparisons to the Soviet Union. It’s more important than ever for Democrats to come together and make sure that we get Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as president and vice president of the United States.”