“When you’re in charge of the city, you know that any given day things can come up and will come up that you have to answer for, first as mayor, and then also in the context of the campaign,” he told me. He was never expecting the worst-case scenario of the last week to actually happen, though.
Running for president means running to be the one who gets stuck dealing with the nation’s worst crises. I asked him how the shooting and its aftermath have affected his thinking about sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. “You’re handling an incredibly difficult situation, where you’ve got a grieving family looking to you for answers and accountability, you’ve got a police department looking to you for leadership,” he said. “You’ve got to step into that in a way that shows you’re not thrown, you’re not rattled, that you care. [And] that no matter how much you care, it’s not going to throw you from taking the time to do the work and understand what’s at stake.
“You learn from everything that happens, and you especially learn from tough times,” Buttigieg added. “This has given me, already, a different grasp of what’s at stake in an issue that should be talked about by presidential candidates.”