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Pete Buttigieg At L.A. Fundraiser: If Trump Doesn't Do General Election Debate, It'll Be A "Show Of Weakness"


Jan. 12, 2020

Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden were each in Los Angeles on Friday for campaign swings, but the former South Bend mayor also did some fundraising before showbiz-centric crowds.
At an evening event at the Sherman Oaks home of Lisa Gregorian, chief marketing officer for Warner Bros. Television Group, Buttigieg took questions from the group of donors and guests.
Among them: What about the possibility that President Donald Trump would not show up for general election debates?
According to a pool report, Buttigieg said that they need to make sure that there is a “price to be paid” if Trump refuses to debate, and said that skipping the event would be a “show of weakness.”
Trump tweeted last month that he looks forward to “debating whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates.” But he also complained that the group that organizes and oversees the general election events, the Commission on Presidential Debates, is “stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers,” and suggested that he may avoid debates sanctioned by the group. He did not cite who he thought on the commission was biased against him.
At the fundraiser, Buttigieg said that it was important to focus on voters where they are, noting that he had done interviews with TMZ and a West Wing podcast.
“I took some heat in my party for doing the Fox News town hall,” he said, noting that he is planned another Fox News appearance. He second town hall is scheduled for Jan. 26.
Buttigieg also talked to his supporters about how to build support at a time of intense polarization. He tied it to the upcoming Trump impeachment trial in the Senate.
“I would urge you to reach out to people that you know who are this close to just switching the whole thing off, because it’s exhausting, like watching this impeachment process, and knowing that when it reaches the floor of the Senate, it may well be a foregone conclusion, it’s exhausting,” he said, according to the pool report. “It makes it feel like they’re just going through the motions, and it creates a sense of helplessness. And that sense of helplessness is what the cynics would need in order to win.”
Later, Buttigieg appeared at a fundraising event co-hosted by director-writer Lee Daniels and Jordan Fudge, managing partner of venture capital firm Sinai Ventures.
Biden and Buttigieg had dueling public events earlier in the day. The former vice president appeared with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who endorsed his candidacy this week. Buttigieg visited a short-term housing complex for the homeless, A Bridge Home Project, along with Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino. According to the AP, Buttigieg faced a small but vocal group of Black Lives Matter protesters.
Buttigieg later told reporters, “It is important to me that I have the support that I do from black residents of South Bend. I know that support is not 100%, and I respect those political differences.”
Biden also raised money during his Los Angeles swing, but it was at the Hancock Park home of Jerry Neuman, partner at the DLA Piper law firm. Tickets started at $1,000 per person, according to an invite.
Biden spent much of his remarks criticizing Trump’s foreign policy. According to a pool report, he said, “This is a guy who has embraced every thug in the world.”
Biden also emphasized his experience, telling the crowd, “The next president of the United States us not going to have any time for on the job training.”
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