Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg defended big-dollar fundraising after criticism from rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), who has called him out for accepting big-ticket donations from billionaires.
Buttigieg, on CNNs State of the Union, called small contributions under $40 “the lifeblood” of his campaign and defended soliciting high-dollar donations on the grounds of both precedent and imperative to defeat President Donald Trump.
“I am following the same fundraising practices that President Obama did and that our leaders have,” Buttigieg said on the program, adding that he sought to marshall all available resources to beat Trump.
“The campaign that I am building right now is not just for earning the nomination, but for defeating Donald Trump, who with his allies has demonstrated that they will do anything to hold on [to] the power,” Buttigieg told CNN.
Trump, who in the thorny style of campaign rhetoric once called Buttigiegs name “unpronounceable,” has dismissed the Indiana mayors electoral potential, even as his stature among fellow Democrat contenders has visibly risen.
“Ive had you up to here, Mayor Pete,” Trump said at a December rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, joking that the 37-year-old relatively inexperienced politician looks like Alfred E. Newman from the magazine Mad, adding, “Youve got to be older to know what that means.”
Fundraising is a big issue for the Democrats, as whoever wins the primary will inherit a party that is $6.5 million in debt and has been outraised by over 6 to 1 by Trump and the Republican National Committee, who collectively pulled in more than $600 million last year alone.
On Saturday night, Trump headlined the most expensive fundraiser of his presidency at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire Nelson Peltz, pulling in some $10 million, the Palm Beach Post reported. Last weekend, a telethon held at Mar-a-Lago with the presidents sons, Eric and Don Jr., reportedly raised $25 million.
Defending his record on campaign bankrolling and highlighting his ambitions, Buttigieg told CNN his bid was funded by over 2 million donations that average under $40, characterizing his fundraising as grassroots.
“My campaign is about belonging and inclusion. I dont define the campaign or myself by whose help we reject, but it is about making sure that everybody who shares these values and prepared to defeat Donald Trump is on the same team,” he said.
Earlier, at a New Hampshire rally, Sanders called out Buttigieg as a favorite of Wall Street, separately telling The Guardian that Mayor Pete had accepted support from around 40 billionaires.
“I like Pete Buttigieg, nice guy, but we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy but our political process,” Sanders told rallygoers on Feb. 7, The Hill reported.
Sanders dismissed claims that candidates could ignore strings attached to rich contributions.
“That is clearly nonsensical. Why would billionaires and wealthy people be making large contributions if it didnt mean Read More – Source