Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, slammed President Trump and his Christian supporters in a CNN town hall held at the Sahara in Las Vegas, Nevada broadcast Tuesday night, saying when asked if Christians can support Trump, “I cannot find any compatibility between the way this president conducts himself and anything that I find in scripture.”
The town hall was staged in advance of Nevada’s presidential primary caucus being held February 22.
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Buttigieg, who says he is an Episcopalian Christian, made the comment in reply to a follow-up by host Erin Burnett to a question from an audience member about the belief that Christianity belongs to conservatives.
CNN: "Do you think it's impossible to be a Christian and support President Trump?"
Buttigieg: "I cannot find any compatibility between the way this president conducts himself and anything I find in scripture." pic.twitter.com/QC870aoabb
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) February 19, 2020
Longer segment posted by CNN to YouTube:
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Excerpt from CNN transcript:
BURNETT: So I want to bring in Kristen Makhathini now. She is a realtor and she is from Henderson, Nevada. She previously had supported Senator Kamala Harris. So she is now undecided. Go ahead with your question, please.
QUESTION: Thanks. Hi, Mayor Pete, thanks for spending time with us tonight. As a fellow Episcopalian and Christian, it is very frustrating to hear so much of the public discourse that assumes that being a Christian equals evangelical Christian conservatism. My Episcopalian belief and Christianity teaches me the values of scripture, tradition, and reason. I am a Democrat and a Christian, you can be both.
How can you use your voice as president to share this viewpoint more broadly when the right thinks they own it?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, first of all, I’m glad to be with a fellow Episcopalian. And I agree. It starts with sending the message that God does not belong to a political party. And…
BUTTIGIEG: And by the way, you know, it’s also very important to make clear that the presidency and the Constitution, and my presidency will belong to people of every religion and of no religion equally. This is not about imposing my faith on anybody.
BUTTIGIEG: But I have got to say, like you, I find a message in scripture that is very different from what the political right seems to want to talk about all the time, a lot about poverty, a lot about compassion, a lot about humility that I seek in my imperfect way to live up to, and that does have implications for how I will approach public office.
And the time has come to send a message that people of faith have a choice. And if you belong to a Christian tradition or any moral or religious tradition that emphasizes making yourself useful to the oppressed and standing with and identifying with the prisoner, and welcoming the stranger, the stranger by the way is another word for immigrant. Yes that has implications in public life and I won’t be afraid to talk about how my positions are informed by my faith.
BURNETT: So, you know, to the point you talk about, about God not belonging to any kind of political party, at the last CNN town hall, you said if your faith calls upon you to help the marginalized, those who are afflicted, to comfort — to comfort people, to strive for humility and decency, as the Christian faith does, and then I quote you, “then I just can’t imagine that that requires of you that you be anywhere near this president.”
Do you think it is impossible to be a Christian and support President Trump?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, I’m not going to tell other Christians how to be Christians. But I will say, I cannot find any compatibility between the way this president conducts himself and anything that I find in scripture. Now I guess that’s my interpretation. But I think that’s a lot of people’s interpretations. And that interpretation deserves a voice.
BURNETT: All right, we are going to be back with more from presidential candidate, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right after this break.