Gay presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg apologises for saying ‘all lives matter’
Gay presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has apologised for saying “all lives matter” in a 2015 speech, and said the phrase was created to “devalue” the Black Lives Matter movement.
Buttigieg—who is a Democrat and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana—was forced to apologise for using the phrase after CNBC unearthed the old speech this week.
Speaking after delivering an address on racial justice at the National Action Network conference in New York, the presidential hopeful said that he “did not understand” at the time what the phrase meant.
Pete Buttigieg: ‘All lives matter’ is used as a ‘counter-slogan to Black Lives Matter’
“At that time, I was talking about a lot of issues around racial reconciliation in our community,” Buttigieg said, according to the New York Times.
“What I did not understand at that time, was that phrase, just early into mid-2015, was coming to be viewed as a sort of counter-slogan to Black Lives Matter.
“And so, this statement, that seems very anodyne and something that nobody could be against, actually wound up being used to devalue what the Black Lives Matter movement was telling us.”
“What I did not understand at that time, was that phrase, just early into mid-2015, was coming to be viewed as a sort of counter-slogan to Black Lives Matter.”
– Pete Buttigieg
He said that—since he learned how “all lives matter” had been used to push back on activism—he had stopped using the phrase.
The use of the phrase “all lives matter” has been widely condemned as an attempt to deflect from the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 when George Zimmerman was acquitted after shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. It later gained further momentum when Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed by police.
Pete Buttigieg announced that he was running for US president in January
In the uncovered speech from 2015, Buttigieg said: “There is no contradiction between respecting the risks that police officers take every day in order to protect this community, and recognising the need to overcome the biases implicit in a justice system that treats people from different backgrounds differently.”
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“We need to take both those things seriously, for the simple and profound reason that all lives matter,” he added.
In 2015, Hillary Clinton also faced backlash when she used the phrase “all lives matter” in an African-American church in Missouri.
Buttigieg announced his candidacy for US president in January. The 37-year-old Afghanistan veteran—who married his teacher husband Chasten Glezman last year—emphasised his youth and progressive nature in his campaign video.
An Emerson poll released on March 24 shoued that Buttigieg was polling at 11 percent in the crucial state of Iowa behind only former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.
If Buttigieg secures the Democratic nomination and becomes president, he would be the first openly gay president of the United States.