Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Sunday listened and nodded without disputing a claim from Pastor William Barber that illegal immigrants from Mexico were merely reclaiming land from the United States.
“We call people illegal aliens … Why can’t we just own in America that some of the people that are trying to come from Mexico here are coming back to land we stole?” he asked. “And the reason we took the land is because people wanted to keep their slaves?”
Some in the congregation applauded.
Barber recounted that President Abraham Lincoln was against the Mexican American War that resulted in the United States ending up with more territory.
Barber urged Buttigieg, as a presidential candidate, to give more speeches about the “lies” of history that kept Americans divided.
The moment caught the attention of the Republican National Committee’s Rapid Response Director Steve Guest, who shared the video on Twitter.
Pete Buttigieg with a valiant effort to take the lead in the “woke olympics.”
Buttigieg nods along in agreement with the claim that illegal immigrants are reclaiming stolen land in US.pic.twitter.com/iLHsMIvyBw
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 1, 2019
Buttigieg attended the Sunday service and conversation in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which lasted two hours, as he continues to try to appeal to black voters. The mayor wore a suit jacket to the service and even brought his own Bible, a campaign staffer confirmed to the Associated Press. Barber is a partisan leftist who has repeatedly condemned President Donald Trump as racist.
“There is no question that the president of this country is racist,” Barber wrote in an article published last week at Medium.
During the conversation, Buttigieg argued that “systemic racism” and “racial voter suppression” were problematic to the concept of a united democracy in America.
“For my dime, I actually consider the electoral college itself to be an example of this problem because it affected anybody who had to live under a presidency that came about because the American people were overruled,” he added. “And we’re living under one right now, which means everybody is experiencing the consequences of that distortion in our democracy.”