Kamala Harris says Pete Buttigieg is ‘naive’ for linking gay rights to civil rights

Nick Duffy November 22, 2019
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Kamala Harris launched an attack on Pete Buttigieg

Kamala Harris launched an attack on Pete Buttigieg (Getty)

Kamala Harris has branded Pete Buttigieg “naive” for citing his experience of discrimination as a gay man during a discussion about black Americans.

During an NBC Democratic debate on Wednesday, the South Bend mayor had referencing his own sexuality in response to questions about his failures in outreach to African-American voters.

He had said: “While I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the colour of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country, turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate, and seeing my rights expanded by a coalition of people like me and people not at all like me, working side by side, shoulder to shoulder, making it possible for me to be standing here.

“Wearing this wedding ring in a way that couldn’t have happened two elections ago lets me know just how deep my obligation is to help those whose rights are on the line every day, even if they are nothing like me in their experience.”

Kamala Harris takes aim at Pete Buttigieg for mentioning sexuality during civil rights discussion

In a Black Women Power Breakfast on Thursday, Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, who is also running for President, attacked the answer.

She told CBS: “Those of us who’ve been involved in Civil Rights for a long time, we know that it is important that we not compare our struggles.

“It is not productive, it is not smart and strategically it works against what we need to do which is build coalition.

“We know that in our ongoing fight for civil rights if any one of us starts to differentiate ourselves in a certain way and in particular what he did on the stage, it’s just not productive. And I think it’s a bit naïve.”

Pete Buttigieg: No equating sexuality and race

Buttigieg later clarified that he was not attempting to equate his sexuality to race.

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Alex Wong/Getty)

He told ABC: “First of all, there’s no equating those two experiences, and some people, by the way, live at the intersection of those experiences.

“What I do think is important is for each of us is to reveal who we are and what motivates us, ad it’s important for voters to understand what makes me tick, what moves me, and my sources of motivation and ensuring that I stand up for others.

“Last night I shared that some of my sources of motivation included my personal experience, my governing experience and my personal faith.”

More: kamala harris, Pete Buttigieg

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