Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSenate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on ‘Medicare for All’ Sanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Biden seeks to fundraise off fact he’s running out of money MORE in a Sunday interview expressed discomfort with Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJill Stein: ‘I am not a Russian spy’ Trump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Graham: I’m seeking to make Trump successful ‘but not at all costs’ MORE‘s characterization of Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardJill Stein: ‘I am not a Russian spy’ Trump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Yang defends Gabbard: She ‘deserves much more respect’ MORE (D-Hawaii) as a Russian asset.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter White House officials stand by Syria withdrawal, sanctions delay amid bipartisan pushback Sunday shows — Officials rush to Trump’s defense on Syria, sanctions MORE on “Meet the Press” that he did not want to “get in the middle of” the battle over Clinton’s comments.
But when Todd asked if he was comfortable with Clinton’s critique of Gabbard, Buttigieg said, “No, I’m not.”
“I’m also not going to get in the middle of it because we, as a party and as a country, have to focus on the future,” he said.
WATCH: #IfItsSunday Mayor @petebuttigieg says he’s not comfortable with Hillary Clinton’s claim that Russians are grooming his fellow 2020 candidate Tulsi Gabbard for a third-party run.
“I’m also not going to get in the middle of it.” #MTP pic.twitter.com/oCCFFaKa9u
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 20, 2019
Buttigieg said the Democratic Party needs to focus “on the task at hand right now,” which includes defeating President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN’s Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE.
“That is my focus,” he said. “That and what happens after this presidency comes to an end.”
Clinton, asked Friday about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and future elections, said she believed Russians have their “eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”
Clinton didn’t mention Gabbard specifically, but it was clear from her remarks who she was referencing.
“She’s the favorite of the Russians,” Clinton said of the candidate. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
The former secretary of State’s comments sparked backlash and prompted Gabbard to accuse Clinton of backing “a campaign to destroy my reputation.”
The Hawaii representative denied that she would run as a third-party candidate. Clinton has also accused 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein of being used by the Russians to get President Trump elected.
Buttigieg on the topic of electoral interference said that Russia is “exploiting divisions” in the U.S.
“But the bigger issue here is Russia is working to interfere with our elections right now,” he said. “And we know a big part of how they’re going to do it is exploiting divisions among the American people with their information operations.”
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