Chris Wallace challenges Pete Buttigieg on big-money donor, perception among African-American voters

"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace challenged 2020 presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg this week about thousands of dollars in campaign contributions he received from a Chicago attorney who previously had tried to block the release of footage from Laquan McDonald's 2014 police shooting.

Buttigieg's campaign returned the money. Still, Wallace asked if the mayor's ties to the donor, Steve Patton, will hurt his chances to make inroads with the black community.

"You were supposed to attend a big fundraiser in Chicago on Friday, and one of the hosts was the same city attorney who worked very hard to block [the] release of this video of police shooting Laquan McDonald," Wallace said. "The lawyer backed out of the fundraiser. He also donated $5,600 to your campaign. Particularly at a time when African-Americans are trying to get to know you -- isn’t that the kind of mistake... that you can’t afford to make?"

"This came to my attention in the morning and within an hour it had been taken care of," Buttigieg replied. "The situation there, and justice and transparency for Laquan McDonald, is much more important to me than a campaign contribution, and we did the right thing as soon as it came to my attention."


A jury found former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of murder last year after he shot McDonald 16 times in a span of fewer than 30 seconds. This past January he was sentenced to 81 months in prison. Three of his fellow Chicago police officers were accused of trying to cover up the murder but were acquitted on all counts.

"Can you understand where people would say, 'well this is a guy who wants our vote, but he was taking money and was attending a fundraiser being held by this city attorney?'" Wallace asked Buttigieg.

Buttigieg repeated himself and said the campaign "took care of it" before shifting the focus to President Trump.

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"And then we took care of it," he repeated. "Look, I think the biggest question on voters' minds is, 'how is my life going to be different?' Especially when that sun comes up that first day after Donald Trump is president."

"The agenda that I'm putting forward -- the issues that I want to tackle, I think will speak to black voters and to all voters who are seeking a better life in this country, and seeking to turn the page from the chaos and the corruption that we're living under right now," Buttigieg added.

Fox News' Nicole Darrah contributed to this report