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Ahead of Fox News Forum, Buttigieg Critical of Hosts and Trump

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 5/19/2019 Tyler Pager
Peter Buttigieg wearing a suit and tie: Pete Buttigieg Holds Iowa Campaign Stop © Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg Holds Iowa Campaign Stop

(Bloomberg) -- Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is participating in a televised Fox News town hall Sunday night, even as some fellow Democrats are choosing to shun the conservative cable network.

Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who’s risen in polls since a CNN town hall in March gave him national exposure, said he agreed to appear because he wants to reach voters who might not otherwise hear his message.

“I’m concerned that we’re retreating into media bubbles,” Buttigieg told reporters after an event Saturday in Dubuque, Iowa. “The invitation to do this town hall is an opportunity to penetrate into an echo chamber and bring a different message to viewers who just might be open to what we have to say if they finally heard it.”

Even so, Buttigieg didn’t shy away from criticizing some Fox News personalities.

“I strongly condemn the voices on Fox and in the media that uncritically amplify hate and the divisive sort of politics that gave rise to this presidency,” Buttigieg said in an email to supporters on Saturday. “Their goal is to spread fear and lies, not serve as honest brokers with the American people.”

Not Participating

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California both announced last week that they wouldn’t participate in a Fox News town hall. Warren denounced the network as a “hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”

Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have already participated in town halls on Fox, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has one scheduled in June.

Ahead of the forum, Buttigieg, 37, had a two-day swing through Iowa, which will hold the first 2020 nominating contest in February. He criticized the Trump administration for what he said is paying “lip service” to the LGBT community.

When asked about Buttigieg’s marriage to a man, President Donald Trump said in an excerpt of an interview set to air Sunday night on Fox that, “I think it’s great. I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with; I have no problem with it whatsoever.”

Buttigieg noted that Trump’s comment came the same week as a report in the Daily Beast that the State Department is withholding U.S. citizenship from some children of same-sex couples born overseas.

“So there’s talk and then there’s policy, and every policy turn we’ve seen out of this administration has been hostile to LGBTQ people,” Buttigieg said at a Democratic book club Friday in Des Moines.

In an interview with NPR Buttigieg said that “In this case, the expectations are so low that he made news by saying something that wasn’t viciously insulting. And that’s not what matters,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Washington at tpager1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Mark Niquette, Ros Krasny

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

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