WASHINGTON | Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders: Donald Trump likes to ridicule his potential opponents are democrats, nicknames mocking support. One of them, however, escapes for the time of his wrath: Pete Buttigieg, the only candidate in thirty years.
“Bootedgeedge (Buttigieg) has very good results this evening. It gives a hard time to Bernie the crazy. Very interesting!”: the tone of Donald Trump on Twitter on Tuesday night after the primary in New Hampshire, was well measured for a president who wields gladly insult.
Saw it not up here, “Mayor Pete” as a credible candidate? He struggled to find the grip in the face of this new face in the american political landscape, almost two times younger than him, who tends without turning the hand to the self-employed and the “future ex-republicans”?
For the historian Julian Zelizer, of Princeton university, there is no doubt that, if the former mayor of South Bend continues its momentum, it will soon become a target of choice.
“As soon as Trump identifies a threat, it will attack”, he explains to AFP. “It will closely monitor and, if his progression continues, he drops”.
It remains to determine the angle of attack that the real estate tycoon will give priority to face-to-Pete Buttigieg.
His name difficult to pronounce?
Donald Trump has already played this card on the podiums of the campaign, pretending to stumble on his surname. But the former member of the South Bend, had, after the announcement of his candidacy, cleared the ground by giving advice fun of pronunciation to those who discovered.
His lack of experience?
Pete Buttigieg has never been elected to Congress, and his experience is limited to the management, for eight years, the city of 100 000 inhabitants, where he was born.
Donald Trump might be tempted to take back this argument, widely used by the opponents-democrats of the former mayor. But he will also have to be wary of.
“I’ve faced situations far more difficult than a tweet full of typos,” repeated the young candidate, who recalled that he had served in the military, in Afghanistan.
“I am ready to take on Donald Trump because when he will play hard, he will have to explain, standing next to a veteran, how he has been able to make people believe that a bone growth that prevented him to serve under the flags”, launched it in January, in a reference to the numerous reports of incorporation obtained by the billionaire republican to avoid being sent to Vietnam.
Alfred E. Neuman ? Religion ?
The call of the foot to “Mayor Pete” the American christian has not escaped Donald Trump who doesn’t want to leave to escape this solid block which has played a central role in its victory in 2016.
In early January, in front of hundreds of evangelicals gathered in Miami, he had ironisé on its positioning: “It suddenly became extremely religious, two weeks ago…”
The response of Buttigieg had been scathing: “at least I have the certainty of being a believer since as long as it is republican”.
His homosexuality ?
In the Face of the first candidate openly gay with a chance to get the nomination of a great party, how far will Donald Trump?
“Nothing is out of bounds for the president,” highlights Julian Zelizer. “This could cause a backlash even if we have seen cross red lines without the slightest reaction within his party”.
“If Buttigieg is the democratic candidate, the issue of gay marriage will surely be at the heart of the debate,” says Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. “But Trump can let the leaders evangelical to do the dirty work”, he adds.
The question remains, central in the strategy of Donald Trump’s nickname. The tool is little presidential, but far more efficient with his electoral base.
“Crooked Hillary”, “Lyin’ Ted”, “Sleepy Joe”, “Crazy Bernie”, “Y Schiff”, “Cryin’, “Chuck”, “Pocahontas”, “Mini-Mike”: all of its opponents, republicans like democrats have been entitled to these formulas that make it fly (but lose the rhythm and sound when they are translated into other languages).
“I have little nicknames for each of them,” assured Donald Trump, delighted, a few days ago. The assertion was erroneous. Pete Buttigieg has so far escaped.
In the spring of 2019, the president in his seventies, had tried a comparison with Alfred E. Neuman, the name of the boy with the wide smile and protruding ears whose picture has adorned for years the a of the humor magazine “Mad”.
It was a flop: the reference was not to all the world, and “Mayor Pete”, 38 years old, did not miss the opportunity.
“I’m going to be honest, I was forced to google it,” he replied. “I think it is just something generational, I’m not sure I understand the reference…”