Buttigieg says former President Carter encouraged him to drop out of the 2020 presidential race ⋆

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in East Lansing on Wednesday that former President Jimmy Carter encouraged him to drop out of the 2020 presidential election. 

“I had come there in hopes that we might be able to earn some support from them, but it was clear that things were not going my way by that point,” Buttigieg said. “President Carter asked me how things were going; I just lost South Carolina [to now-President Joe Biden]. I said, ‘Well, it’s a setback, but I think a lot of things are going our way. What do you think?’ And with the biggest, kindest smile on his face, he said, ‘I think you ought to drop out.’”

“He said it just quietly enough that nobody else at the table heard it,” Buttigieg added as the audience laughed. “If nothing else, I knew that was the direction I was heading from that day.”

Buttigieg shared those details at Michigan State University’s Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum after reflecting on the death of former first lady Rosalynn Carter. 

Blanchard also held a moment of silence for Kathy Wilbur, who unexpectedly passed away and had been the university’s senior vice president for government relations.

“Earlier, she served as an MSU trustee,” Blanchard said. “We could use her now, actually.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

Pro-Palestinian protesters outside as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is set to speak at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

Former Gov. Jim Blanchard introduces U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to speak at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

Protestors with Climate Defiance interrupt as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

Protestors with Climate Defiance interrupt as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

Protestors with Climate Defiance interrupt as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks at Michigan State University on Nov. 29, 2023, as part of its Gov. Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum. (Andrew Roth/)

 

Previous speakers at the forum include former U.S. Rep. John Lewis and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who have both also since passed away, as well as former President Bill Clinton.

Earlier on Wednesday, Buttigieg visited the Port of Monroe to highlight the Biden-Harris administration’s work on supply chains to ensure there aren’t shortages of goods, particularly during the holiday season. The administration has invested $17 billion in American ports and waterways, and has already announced grants going to four Michigan ports, including ports in Detroit, Alpena, Marquette and Monroe. The Port of Monroe is receiving $11 million to help expand cargo capacity.

Blanchard joked about Buttigieg’s age, pointing out that the transportation secretary was born the same year Blanchard was elected governor — 1982.

“I’m not going to claim Secretary Pete Buttigieg has had a legendary career – yet. I’m not going to claim he’s some sort of icon,” Blanchard said. “But I think it’s true that he’s had a fascinating career in public service, and I believe he will have a gifted career going forward.”

Blanchard said that he and Janet Blanchard decided early on that one of their goals was to choose speakers who would inspire students to enter public service. He said Buttigieg exemplifies that.

“You don’t have to wait. Most of the people I know who have made major contributions in our country started very early,” Blanchard said. “That’s how exciting careers are really made. That’s how experience is gained and great things are achieved.” 

Buttigieg’s speech was interrupted by a group of protestors from Climate Defiance, one of whom was arrested, who shouted, “Stop Petrol Pete.”

Buttigieg was interrupted by a group of protestors shouting “stop Petrol Pete.”

After they were removed, Buttigieg said it would be “weird to be in the middle of a speech about democracy and not acknowledge the demonstrators.”

He says they both care deeply about climate change. pic.twitter.com/6rzdkHIVBd

— Andrew Roth (@RothTheReporter) November 30, 2023

Outside, pro-Palestinian protestors shined flashlights into the ballroom and chanted for Buttigieg to call for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Palestine. 

“I think it would be weird to be in the middle of a speech about democracy and not at least acknowledge the demonstrators,” Buttigieg said after the protestors were removed. “They care deeply about climate change, and we care deeply about climate change, which is why our administration has delivered the most sweeping and ambitious climate legislation passed in human history, not just by our country, but by any country.”

“I think we can all acknowledge that most people were not betting on the U.S. to lead the way in the world on climate,” Buttigieg continued. “I also think we have to acknowledge that unless all of us, including the demonstrators who were just here, decided never to take a flight or a bus or any other means of conveyance that involves fossil fuels, then we are all acknowledging in our actions, if not our words, that we are going through a transition.”

Despite the commotion, Buttigieg seemed unfazed and discussed a range of topics, including the challenges of finding a balance while raising a family as a public official.

“Maybe I’m too slow. Until I listened to certain children’s songs thousands of times, I had no idea, even as a pretty musical person, that ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,’ the ABC song and ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ are the same song,” Buttigieg said to laughter from the audience.



authored by Andrew Roth
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2023%2F11%2F30%2Fbuttigieg-says-former-president-carter-encouraged-him-to-drop-out-of-the-2020-presidential-race%2F

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