After days of waiting, Pete Buttigieg emerged from the Iowa caucuses as the leader among Democratic candidates for president. He secured 13 delegates and 26.2% of the vote, with 99% of precincts reporting. That bested Bernie Sanders’ 12 delegates and 26.1% of the vote.
As one of the early leaders in the race for the opportunity to run against President Donald Trump in the 2020 General Election, Buttigieg will be asked to answer a lot of questions between now and the final tallies. As any candidate knows, he should expect to share his views on just about every political topic imaginable.
Some questions are bound to be tough, for sure, but others are just general overview-type questions. For some reason, though, Buttigieg seems to want to hide some of his feelings, thoughts and stances on important issues from the public.
The New York Times issued a survey to every one of the major Democratic candidates for president, asking them all the same 36 questions on 11 different policy topics. Seems simple and straightforward enough, but Buttigieg was the only candidate who didn’t answer a majority of the Times’ questions.
In fact, the former mayor of South Bend left a whopping 19 questions blank and didn’t answer any questions that revolved around Afghanistan, NATO, China or the United States’ cyber policy. Why Buttigieg left so many questions unanswered is unknown at this point, but maybe it’s because foreign policy as a whole is considered a general weakness of his candidacy. After all, the most prestigious political position he’s held is being mayor in South Bend, Indiana, which is the state’s fourth-largest city.
Buttigieg isn’t the only candidate who avoided some questions on the Times survey, but he is the one who avoided the most questions. Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar both didn’t answer three of the questions.
Some of the questions that Buttigieg didn’t answer include:
“Should the United States maintain its current level of military aid to Israel? If not, how should the level of aid change?”
“Would American troops be in Afghanistan at the end of your first term? If so, would you limit those troops’ mission to counterterrorism and intelligence gathering?”
“Should normal relations and trade be contingent on China’s closing its internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups?”
“Should respect for Hong Kong’s political independence, under the terms of the handover agreement with Britain, be a prerequisite for normal relations and trade with China?”
Buttigieg’s campaign has tried to defend his foreign policy record, despite him having no real experience in the arena from a political position standpoint. They say he has gained endorsements from approximately 200 foreign policy experts within the Democratic party. As a Navy veteran, he has also “travelled the world and served his country abroad,” as well as “engaged deeply to learn about other cultures and learn their languages.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Buttigieg responds to future direct questions about foreign policy in public forums such as town halls and presidential debates, where he’ll have a tough time avoiding questions.