South Bend, Ind., mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE said in an interview Wednesday that it’s difficult to look at President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s actions and then consider him as someone who believes in God.
“I’m reluctant to comment on another person’s faith,” Buttigieg told USA Today. “But I would say it is hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God.”
“I just don’t understand how you can be as worshipful of your own self as he is and be prepared to humble yourself before God,” Buttigieg continued. “I’ve never seen him humble himself before anyone. And the exaltation of yourself, especially a self that’s about wealth and power, could not be more at odds with at least my understanding of the teachings of the Christian faith.”
Buttigieg, an openly gay man who was married in the Episcopal Church he attends, made the remarks in a wide-ranging discussion about Christianity with opinion columnist Kirsten Powers. Among other things, the 37-year-old said that Democrats should not be afraid to “invoke arguments that are convincing on why Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction.”
Buttigieg, who has repeatedly criticized the Trump administration, has called out Trump and Vice President Pence regarding religion before.
“The idea that God wants somebody like Mike Pence to be the cheerleader for a president largely known for his association with hush money to adult-film actresses seems to me to give God very little credit,” Buttigieg said in a recent interview with Father Edward Beck, a Roman Catholic priest and on-air faith and religion commentator for CNN.
Buttigieg also criticized Pence for signing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law in 2015. The legislation allows businesses in Indiana to cite their religious freedom as a defense in lawsuits, with Buttigieg calling it a “license to harm others in the name of religion.”
“It was to me a trashing not just of our sense of freedom and our sense of rights, but also, in some way, a trashing of religion,” he said.
Buttigieg has gained increasing popularity since launching an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential run earlier this year. The two-term mayor has called for numerous progressive reforms, including a move to bypass the Electoral College.
He announced Monday that he raised more than $7 million in the first quarter of this year.