During his Fox News town hall tonight, Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg had some choice words about Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.
Near the end of Part 2 of the town hall, Buttigieg was asked about the possibility of impeaching Donald Trump. Buttigieg thought Trump “may well” deserve impeachment but that it would be up to Congress to decide. “My role,” he said, “is to try to get a new president in a different way.” Meaning, of course, by getting himself elected in 2020.
He continued, saying that “the best way to change that equation” of both Trump’s misdeeds and the Republicans who cover for him, “is for there to be an enormous defeat for this president and what he represents at the ballot box.”
That received thunderous applause.
Perhaps mindful of the Trump whining to come, host Chris Wallace interrupted to ask Buttigieg how he would handle the insults and tweets from “formidable candidate” Trump on the campaign trail. Let me pause here to note that Wallace did a fine job in this town hall. There were no gotcha questions, no Trump propaganda and there was no promotion of Trump’s upcoming appearance on Fox, all of which we saw during the previous two Fox town halls with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. It makes me wonder if someone complained to Fox (as they should have).
“The tweets are – “ Buttigieg paused before saying, “I don’t care.” That got loud laughs and another big round of applause from the audience.
Wallace said that while that was popular with the studio audience, Trump’s tweets are a “very effective way for him to reach tens of millions of Americans.’
“Well, it’s a very effective way to command the attention of the media,” Buttigieg shot back. He threw in another zinger at Trump.“I get it, it’s mesmerizing. It’s hard for anybody to look away. Me too. It is the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away.” That got more laughter and more applause.
Buttigieg moved on to what seemed a pre-planned defense of his Fox News town hall that he deliberately coupled with an attack on Fox’s propaganda. He began by saying he aims to “find people where they are” even though he got a lot of criticism for doing the town hall.
“I’ve heard that,” Wallace said drily.
“And I get where that’s coming from,” Buttigieg added. “Especially when you see what goes on with some of the opinion hosts on this network. I mean, when you’ve got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirtier, when you’ve got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with cages to summer camps. Summer camps? Then there is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media eco-system. But I also believe that even though some of those hosts are not always there in good faith, I think a lot of people tune into this network who do it in good faith and there are a lot of Americans who my party can’t blame if they are ignoring our message because they will never hear it if we don’t go on and talk about it.”
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m all for Democrats going on Fox. But that doesn’t mean anyone should give the network the cred and advertising dollars that goes with a town hall. Buttigieg would probably not have trouble getting booked on Fox News as a regular guest. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, another Democratic presidential candidate who took part in a Fox town hall, got well over 12 minutes on Fox News Sunday today to get her message out.
Whether doing a town hall will pan out for Buttigieg remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though: Fox will be weaponizing this town hall against him in the days to come.
Meanwhile, watch Buttigieg confront Fox News’ extremism below, from his May 19, 2019 town hall.