Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who now serves on Joe Biden‘s transition team, said he continues to support the concept of increasing the size of the Supreme Court, and defended the Democratic presidential nominee’s claim that the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is unconstitutional.
In 2019, Buttigieg supported the idea of a 15-member Supreme Court. Now, in a “Fox News Sunday” interview, he claimed that Republicans who speak out against changing the size of the high court are merely trying trying to distract from other issues.
“My views haven’t changed,” Buttigieg said. I think bipartisan reform with the purpose of reducing the politicization of the court is a really promising idea. Let’s also be clear that a president can’t just snap their fingers and do it, and most of all we don’t want to allow this president to change the subject, which is what they’re always doing.”
Buttigieg then quickly changed the subject himself to focus on issues like health care and gay marriage, which he claimed could both be in jeopardy with President Trump’s nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Earlier in the interview, Buttigieg backed up Biden’s claim that Barrett’s nomination was “unconstitutional.”
Biden has made that claim on more than one occasion, despite failing to point to any particular part of the Constitution that would forbid the president from nominating Barrett, or anyone else, before an election.
“Well, I think what he’s saying is it’s not in the spirit of the Constitution nor the spirit of our legal system or political system for them to do this,” Buttigieg explained. Look, most Americans believe, as I do, as Joe Biden does, that the American people ought to have a say. We’re not talking about an election that’s coming up. We’re in the middle of an election, millions of Americans have voted and want their voice to be heard.”
Trump and his fellow Republicans have rejected this argument by noting that Trump and Senate Republicans were all duly elected to their positions, and therefore the people’s voices are being heard when their leaders act within their power.
Buttigieg avoided saying that Barrett’s nomination was unconstitutional, but claimed that the semantics were irrelevant.
“You know, whatever specific words you use for it, the bottom line is the word I would use is ‘wrong,’” he continued. “And the fact that most Americans agree with us on this is one more reason why Joe Biden is winning this election right now.”
On the issue of foreign policy, host Chris Wallace brought up Buttigieg’s past criticism of Biden when the two were opponents in the 2020 Democratic primary race. Buttigieg had blasted Biden for supporting the Iraq war under President George W. Bush.
“He supported the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in my lifetime, which was the decision to invade Iraq,” Buttigieg once said.
On Sunday, however, Buttigieg credited Biden for saying that going into Iraq was a mistake, and accused Trump of being “a destabilizing force literally everywhere he goes.” He did not address the string of recent peace agreements brokered by the U.S. between Israel and Arab countries. Rather, he accused Trump of being a “disaster,” barely being able to “keep straight what is going on in the Middle East.”
While Buttigieg criticized Biden in the past, he said now that the race is between Biden and Trump, he is “enthusiastically” behind the Democratic candidate.
“It’s time to end the Trump presidency and move on,” he said.