In his first sit-down interview since ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mayor Pete Buttigieg shared with The TODAY Show’s Craig Melvin what his immediate plans are now and responded to comments by Sen. Bernie Sanders that he was ‘forced out’ of the Democratic race.
Speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Sunday, Sanders said, “One of the things I was kind of not surprised by was the power of the establishment to force Amy Klobuchar, who had worked so hard, Pete Buttigieg who had really worked extremely hard as well out of the race.”
Melvin asked the former South Bend, Indiana mayor what kind of ‘pressure’ he might have felt from ‘the establishment?’
“I felt the pressure of voters making a decision,” replied Buttigieg. “We ran four contests and I’m proud of the campaign we ran but by the time we ran our fourth race, it was clear that the numbers weren’t there.”
“You know, getting into this race was never just about becoming president,” he continued. “For us, it was about working to unify the party and the country and it was about making sure we defeat Donald Trump and there came a point where I realized that the best thing I could do in the service of those goals was to step aside and support vice president Biden.”
Putting a point on Buttigieg’s response, Melvin inquired one more time if he’d felt any pressures from ‘the powers that be’ about leaving the race?
“The kind of people who run for president of the United States are the kind of people who make their own decisions,” said the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. “It was my decision.”
With the presidential race now in the rearview mirror, other than possibly campaigning for Joe Biden, Melvin asked what was next on the agenda for Buttigieg?
“In the immediate term, we’re going to be traveling a little bit, thanking supporters and then Chasten and I are looking forward to some time away,” Mayor Pete told Melvin. “Then I’ll come back and make myself useful in new ways, but we’re going to have some fun now.”
“On Thursday, I’m going to be guest-hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live,” he continued, clearly excited about the hosting gig. “We’re lining up a great slate of guests; Sir Patrick Stewart is coming on, we’re very excited about that.”
Asked if he’ll be doing a monologue at the top of the show, Mayor Pete replied, “Hopefully some funnier minds than mine will be doing some writing for that.”
While in New York City over the weekend, Mayor Pete and husband Chasten took in the acclaimed gay-themed Broadway play The Inheritance where they received a standing ovation before the play began.
Standing Ovation tonight for @Chas10Buttigieg @PeteButtigieg Pre Curtain at the Inheritance. This just goes to show you just how powerful of a campaign Pete and Chasten Ran. They deserve every Standing O they can get #TeamPete #TeamPeteForever #ThankYouPete #ThankYouChasten pic.twitter.com/TizGrV83Gb
— 🏳️🌈Drew Rizzuti 🏳️🌈 (@Rizzuti09) March 9, 2020