Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana said Wednesday that he was not proposing to invade Mexico and that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was presenting an “outlandish” spin on comments he made about sending U.S. troops south of the border.
“The most recent example of your inexperience in national security and foreign policy came from your recent careless statement about how you as president would be willing to send our troops to Mexico to fight the cartels,” Ms. Gabbard told Mr. Buttigieg at the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta.
Mr. Buttigieg said it’s “par for the course” in Washington to take remarks out of context, “but that is outlandish, even by the standards of today’s politics.”
“I was talking about U.S.-Mexico cooperation. We’ve been doing security cooperation with Mexico for years,” he said.
“Do you seriously think anybody on this stage is proposing invading Mexico?” Mr. Buttigieg said.
“That’s not what I said,” Ms. Gabbard replied.
“If your question is about experience, let’s also talk about judgment,” he said. “One of the foreign leaders you mentioned meeting was Bashar al-Assad. I have in my experience — such as it is, whether you think it counts or not since it wasn’t accumulated in Washington — enough judgment that I would not have sat down with a murderous dictator like that.”
Ms. Gabbard said a commander-in-chief needs “good judgment.”
“And what you have just pointed out is that you would lack the courage to meet with both adversaries and friends,” she said.