For the sake of catharsis, I think it’s time we talked about that one friend or family member.
You know the one I’m talking about. The one who uses each and every trip to an authentic ethnic restaurant as an opportunity to brush up on their next-to-nonexistent foreign language skills.
From the greeting to the ordering of food to the final goodbye, they stumble their way through a series of stock phrases gathered in two to four years of public school Spanish, French, Italian or Mandarin lessons, never failing to make everyone — including the wait staff — deeply uncomfortable.
Seemingly seeking to score a few points for multiculturalism on the campaign trail Thursday, Buttigieg instead dug himself a hole as he took the stage at the League of United Latin American Citizens Presidential Town Hall in North Las Vegas, Nevada, unable to complete a short, prepared greeting in Spanish.
“Thank you! Thank you so much for the chance to join you,” Buttigieg opened. “Gracias por inventarnos para hablar — uh — this evening.”
The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor had apparently been attempting to thank the largely Hispanic event hosts and audience members for inviting him to speak.
However, replacing the Spanish word invitarnos — meaning “inviting” — with what sounded more like the word inventarnos — which means “inventing” — and further failing to recall the translation for “tonight,” Buttigieg was met only with murmurs and uncomfortable laughter from the crowd.
According to Breitbart, Buttigieg did eventually make up for the embarrassing display later on, answering a number of questions in Spanish during the question-and-answer portion of the event.
And Buttigieg’s ability to eventually get himself back on track is hardly surprising. He is, after all, a masterful rebounder.
But Thursday night’s gaffe underscores a long-running problem for Team Buttigieg: the candidate’s utter lack of authenticity.
The awkward moment when Pete Buttigieg calls dark money “black money” on accident in front of black audience.
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) February 11, 2020
The man is a quick talker and a chameleon, plain and simple.
He plays to the room, no matter how bad the lack of consistency and defined identity may look on video.
On the Democratic debate stage, where economic liberals and free market capitalists are cast out as social pariahs, Buttigieg admonishes the wealthy, proudly proclaiming he is the least rich person in the race — despite a willingness to take exorbitant donations from millions at “wine cave” fundraising events.
At small-town campaign stops, Buttigieg is a man of humble beginnings, flaunting his military service, Christian morals and heartland values — despite having attended Harvard and Oxford University and possessing a radical disregard for Christian doctrine regarding gay marriage and abortion.
Meanwhile, at events with minority voters, who Buttigieg has fundamentally struggled to connect with on the trail, he is a civil rights aficionado, leaning on his woes as a gay man in 21st century America to make him more relatable.
Of course, that semblance of flawed relatability comes crumbling down when you accidentally refer to “dark money” campaign contributions as “black” and “African American” money while discussing campaign finance reform in front of a largely black audience.
And that’s the problem of any chameleon candidate.
Eventually your audience is going to catch you changing colors — a problem that would only be exacerbated for Mayor Pete in a general election, where he’d be contending with a candidate who is entirely and unapologetically himself in President Donald Trump.
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