Trump, while speaking at King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, claimed, without evidence, that Buttigieg, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other top Democrats are trying to replace religion with socialism. He then questioned if Buttigieg was as religious as he claimed.
“And I see Alfred E. Neuman comes out and he’s trying to pretend he’s very religious,” Trump said, referring to the former mayor. The nickname is a reference to the MAD magazine mascot, whom Buttigieg said he had not heard of when the president first used the moniker earlier in his campaign.
“Now all of a sudden he’s become extremely religious, this happened about two weeks ago,” Trump continued.
Buttigieg, who is an Episcopalian, tweeted a simple response: “God does not belong to a political party.”
God does not belong to a political party.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 4, 2020
The Democratic presidential candidate told CNN in August he had been reluctant to discuss his religious beliefs for some time, citing Biblical scripture in which Jesus tells believers to “not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.” But he said as a presidential candidate, it was important for the public to know who he is, and for Democrats to not run from the issue.
“I’ve got to speak up, if only to point out the hypocrisies of those now in power,” he’d told the news outlet.
Buttigieg further responded to Trump’s unfounded claims when asked about the comment at a recent campaign stop in New Hampshire.
Pete responds to Trumps attack on his faith…just now on MSNBC.
"Pretty sure I've been a believer longer than he's been a Republican."
Pete shoots, he scores. pic.twitter.com/fscS4n0RUi
— Drummin Dave Votin Blue (@DavidHynek99) January 4, 2020
“I’m not sure why the president’s taken an interest in my faith journey, but certainly I would be happy to discuss it with him,” he said. “I just don’t know where that’s coming from, you know. Certainly, it has been a complex journey for me, as it is for a lot of people, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been a believer longer than he’s been a Republican.”