South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded Sunday after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., questioned the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful’s approach to fundraising, Fox News informed.
The far-left congresswoman accused Buttigieg of protecting a system of “big money politics” instead of trying to make it a thing of the past, touting the merits of “small-dollar grassroots campings,” which she said were more successful than his.
“Well, first of all, you don’t go from mayor of South Bend to a competitive presidential candidate without knowing a thing or two about grassroots campaigning,” Buttigieg told “Fox News Sunday” in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, posted last week. “My campaign is fueled by the contributions of almost 600,000 individual donors and most of those are small contributions.”
The congresswoman posted her comments while retweeting a quote from Buttigieg that criticized Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to stay away from large donations.
“We’re not going to beat Trump with pocket change,” Buttigieg had said.
Ocasio-Cortez described that comment as insulting to small donors, but Buttigieg explained his stance on Sunday.
“What I’m saying is we can’t go into this fight against Donald Trump with one hand tied behind our back,” he said, pointing out Trump and his supporters have raised $125 million. “They will pull out all of the stops to stay in power, and I think we have a responsibility to the country to make sure that we go into this fight as Democrats with everything that we’ve got and not unilaterally disarm it.”
Buttigieg admitted that a reform in the financing is strongly needed, but stated that Democrats first need to gain power in order to make this a thing.
Buttigieg also warned against radical approaches to issues such as health care, saying that will only alienate voters.
“I think that we have a chance to build an American majority around bold action, but it is the case that we could wreck that majority through purity tests,” Buttigieg said. “Take the example of this Medicare question. I’m proposing Medicare for all who want it. It means we create a version of Medicare, everybody can get access to it, and if you want to keep your private plan we’re okay with that. I think that’s a better policy than kicking people off of their plan, but I also think that it’s something that more Americans can get behind.”
Lamenting the divided state of the political climate in the U.S., Buttigieg said that going too far to the left can make matters worse.
“We can govern in a very bold and forward-leaning direction, but we’ve got to make sure we do it in a way that moves toward unifying rather than further polarizing the American people,” he said.