The saying “if you first don’t succeed, try again” does not apply to lying. Yet, it appears that the Buttigieg 2020 campaign may have thought that was the case.
After being caught mischaracterizing Johnnie Cordero’s (the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Black Caucus) stance on Mayor Buttigieg’s “Douglass Plan for Black America,” ABC News reported that the Buttigieg campaign has gone a step further. In a recent op-ed, the Buttigieg campaign claimed to have “proudly partnered with local businesses” in South Carolina. Two of the businesses that the campaign claimed to be partnered with were Diane’s Kitchen in Chester and Atlantis Restaurant in Moncks Corner. The owner of Atlantis Restaurant, Wendell Varner, has stated that although the Buttigieg campaign had an event at their restaurant, they never agreed to be a partner of the campaign. Varner stated, “They paid us to have an event at our restaurant.”
Similarly, Diane Cole, the owner of Diane’s Kitchen, explained that she was not a “partner” of the Buttigieg campaign. Cole told ABC News, “It sounds like you’re saying that I am your business partner. I’m only going to accept that you all stopped in while you were campaigning in South Carolina and I welcomed you all.”
After the report of Ms. Cole’s comments, the Buttigieg campaign tried to persuade her to support that op-ed’s assertion that she was a partner of the campaign. According to the report, in one message they even misspelled Ms. Cole’s name.
In the end, the Buttigieg campaign claimed the partnership language was in reference to efforts to frequent minority-owned businesses. With Mayor Pete’s struggle to obtain support from the African American communities, it is hard to see how his campaign thought that putting words into the mouths of African American business owners would help.
What Mayor Pete and his campaign should do is apologize and stop lying. When you twist the truth about small, inconsequential things, voters are less likely to believe a candidate when they talk about hard policy issues.