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Pete Buttigieg: ‘I have no shortage of batting practice when it comes to dealing with bullies’

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has faced some difficulties at a number of his speaking engagements in the past few weeks as he campaigns for the Democratic nomination to run for president.

LONDONDERRY, NH – APRIL 19: Democratic Presidential candidate, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg attends a campaign stop at Stonyfield Farms on April 19, 2019 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Recent polls are showing Buttigieg is gaining ground with Democrats in the presidential nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

But the mayor has stated he’s unfettered by these incidents. During an interview over the weekend on MSNBC with host Donny Deutsch, Buttigieg was asked whether he was ever picked on or bullied as a kid, and if those incidents helped him now.

“I have no shortage of batting practice when it comes to dealing with bullies,” Buttigieg said to Deutsch. “It’s one of the reasons that I’m not going to hesitate to get into the arena here with some of the toughest and most morally challenged people that we’ve seen in a long time in politics.”

The Democratic candidate for president recalled an occasion in high school when a peer of his punched him for no reason. Buttigieg responded by turning around and simply looking back at him in the eyes. “I’ve never seen anybody back off so quick,” he recalled.

There was a lesson to that event, he added.

“What I realized is, sometimes when somebody is lashing out, when they’re hitting you like that, it’s not because of you, it’s because of them,” Buttigieg quipped.

Hecklers have stood up and confronted Buttigieg at a number of events since he’s declared his candidacy, interrupting the mayor at times over the fact that he’s an openly gay and married man.

Despite these difficult moments, Buttigieg has remained calm and collected, generally having something constructive to say at the moment when they occurred.

At an event in Dallas, Texas, last week, for example, Buttigieg responded to hecklers by saying one of the men shouting him down reminded him that one reason why he signed up for military service several years ago was to “[defend] that gentleman’s freedom of speech,” per reporting from BuzzFeed News.

In Iowa earlier this year, as protesters interrupted him speaking there, he told them matter-of-factly that it wasn’t they who ultimately decided whether he was a sinner or not. “The condition of my soul is in the hands of God but the Iowa caucuses are up to you,” he told voters, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com.



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