Democrats turned on each other in Iowa on Sunday at a rally for Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Videos posted online show the openly gay 2020 presidential candidate talking with a black man in the front row of a rally in Des Moines, though only Buttigieg’s microphone was audible.
WATCH: Pete Buttigieg was interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters here in Iowa challenging his record as South Bend Mayor—he told them, “I think your facts are a little wrong, so I’d love a chance to talk with you about it, but I’d like for us to talk about it respectfully.” pic.twitter.com/dYO106Jyzz
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) January 13, 2020
The man interrupted Buttigieg to call him out about issues in South Bend, and the former mayor responded by questioning his heckler’s contributions to the city.
“As you know, we’ve now been able to file for functional zero for veterans homelessness in South Bend,” Buttigieg said.
“Tell the truth, Pete!” a woman in the audience yelled.
“Tell the truth!” another echoed.
The man continued to grill Buttigieg about his “failed” policies as mayor, including an initiative to counter blight.
“You actually only fixed five – five – houses, but you demolished hundreds in the urban and black communities,” the man insisted.
“Sir, I think your facts are a little wrong, so I’d love a chance to talk to you about it, but I’d like for us to talk about it respectfully,” Buttigieg said. “Can we agree that we can talk about this respectfully?”
“We’ve been trying to talk to you since South Bend, Pete!” a woman yelled out.
“Yes! Yes!” a man shouted.
“I’m just troubled because you’re citing information that’s factually incorrect,” Buttigieg said.
Pete Buttigieg supporters shouting “USA-USA-USA” over black activists in Iowa.#BlackLivesMatter still drowns them out! ✊🏼
— Tania Singh (@TwinklingTania) January 13, 2020
The comment created an uproar from one side of the room where several folks were wearing Black Lives Matter shirts.
“Give me a break!” one man screamed.
The agitators waived their hands furiously as they pleaded their case, while Buttigieg attempted to tamp down the melee.
“I’m sorry, but this is not the best way for us to have this conversation,” he said.
Many of the roughly 750 who trekked to the Iowa State Historical Building to hear Buttigieg speak attempted to drown out the agitators with chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
The hecklers fired back with “Black-Lives-Matter! Black-Lives-Matter!”
— Gary Grumbach (@GaryGrumbach) January 13, 2020
As security escorted about a dozen from the building, several chanted “Anti-black! Anti-poor! Anti-black! Anti-poor!”
Once the group was safely out of the room, Buttigieg resumed his shtick.
“Let me hear it one more time for the idea of respectful, honest, open and transparent dialogue,” he said to roars from the crowd.
The ordeal was the second time in the last week Black Lives Matter groups have disrupted Buttigieg events to offer the candidate a piece of their mind, KCCI reports.
When Buttigieg visited a homeless shelter in Watts on Friday, three constituents from South Bend were ready and waiting with hand-made protest signs and chants about his “anti-black, anti-poor” policies.
“We haven’t seen Mayor Pete in a while. I’m surprised he’s here at a shelter (in Los Angeles) and not in South Bend at a shelter, We miss his face,” 22-year-old South Bend resident Kahmiil Middleton told the Los Angeles Times.
Middleton went to Los Angeles with 22-year-old Anthony Thomson and Katheryn Redding, who appeared older, specifically to heckle Buttigieg about a homeless man who froze to death in December after refusing to stay in a shelter. The three are members of Black Lives Matter South Bend.
Buttigieg’s tenure as mayor ended this month.
“Wherever he goes, we’ll go, because we don’t want to be forgotten,” Middleton said.
Redding acknowledged that an outside group, not affiliated with a presidential candidate, is funding their efforts, though she wouldn’t reveal the group.
“I was told not to release that information,” she said.