South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg joined 18 of his fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls in Las Vega on Saturday to participate in the AFSCME 2020 Public Service Forum.
As the candidates took turns sharing the stage, news broke that a 21-year-old white male, and suspected white nationalist, had opened fire inside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing at least 19 and injuring 40 more.
When Buttigieg took the stage, he decided to scrap his prepared opening remarks and instead declared that America was “under attack from home-grown, white nationalist terrorism.”
“I had a statement ready and I can’t even think about it right now. I don’t know if you all are seeing what’s coming out of Texas,” Buttigieg told the crowd.
“America is under attack,” he said. “America is under attack from home-grown, white nationalist terrorism!”
“And we have to talk and act about two things in this country. First of all, we are the only country in the world with more guns than people. It has not made us safer,” Buttigieg told the crowd.
“We can respect the second amendment and not allow it to be a death sentence for thousands of Americans. And two, white nationalism is evil and it is inspiring people to commit murder and it is being condoned at the highest levels of the American government. And that has to end,” he declared.
“We’ve got a decision to make. Are we or are we not prepared to stand up to the corporate gun lobby. And are we or are we not prepared to stand up to the evil of white nationalism in this country,” he added.