“The View” weighed in on controversial comments made by Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg eight years ago about minority and low-income students on Wednesday after they resurfaced in a video and were the subject of an article on the website “The Root” earlier this week.
“Kids need to see evidence that education is going to work for them,” Buttigieg said in a roundtable interview during what ultimately became a successful run for South Bend, Indiana, mayor in 2011.
“You’re motivated because you believe that at the end of your education, there is a reward. There’s a stable life. There’s a job,” Buttigieg said. “There are a lot of kids, especially [in] the lower-income minority neighborhoods, who literally just haven’t seen it work. There isn’t someone who they know personally who testifies to the value of education.”
Writer Michael Harriot wrote a scathing piece for “The Root” in response to the resurfaced clip, saying that the presidential hopeful was “lying.” (Note: Harriot's article includes language that may be considered offensive.)
“This is not a misunderstanding. This is not a misstatement. Pete Buttigieg went to the best educational institutions America has to offer and he —more than anyone on the…planet — knows that everything he just said is a bald-faced lie,” Harriot wrote.
“What I said in that comment before I became mayor does not reflect the totality of my understanding then, and certainly now, about the obstacles that students of color face in our system today,” Buttigieg said at a campaign event in Iowa Tuesday.
Joy Behar said on Wednesday that the presidential hopeful “needs to get a little more woke.”
“Systemic racism is with you whether you have a role model or not. So when Obama was president, there was the greatest role model…in my opinion, and still, systemic racism continued,” Behar said, mentioning “redlining” as an example.
“There was redlining going on, which means that only white people can move to a certain neighborhood… That means the schools are not equal because you’re not in the right neighborhoods. The books are not the same, the teachers.”
Sunny Hostin said Buttigieg’s past comment highlighted a “blind spot” that he continues to have.
“It’s a blind spot he had as mayor of South Bend and it’s a blind spot the community of South Bend, the African American community, has raised with him repeatedly… He continues to have it,” she said. “He should’ve known better then. If you look at the statistics, black women are actually the most educated in the country. Yet they still make less money than their white counterparts… This suggestion somehow that black children don’t have that role model is just factually incorrect.”
“It’s also insulting!” Whoopi Goldberg added. “It’s always kind of interesting to hear a set of folks sitting around a table talking about a problem they don’t understand.”
On Tuesday, Harriot wrote a second article, saying the South Bend mayor called him in response to the initial article.
“Pete Buttigieg didn’t want to tell me his side of the story. He didn’t excuse himself by explaining that the comments referenced by the article were made years ago. He didn’t even try to explain his plan for black America,” Harriot said. “Mostly, he just wanted to listen.”
Abby Huntsman said she was struck by Buttigieg’s call to Harriot.
“I took a step back and realized how often we are — I know I am at times — naïve because we don’t understand situations… We need to do a better job of that listening, especially when you’re running for office, in this situation,” Huntsman said.
Last week, a Quinnipiac poll showed Buttigieg polling at 0% among black likely-Democratic primary voters in South Carolina. A national Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday showed Buttigieg with 4% support among black Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters.
“Is the Democratic party going to roll the dice on somebody who gets 0% from black voters?” Meghan McCain asked.
“Trust me, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There’s a lot more of this stuff coming on him the higher he’s rising in the polls. The point is you have to listen to the very fair criticism of your relationship with the black community that you are hemorrhaging voters right now,” she said. “He has a serious problem that is not going away.”