Pete Buttigieg discusses playing Mike Pence in VP debate prep, packing the Supreme Court, and #flygate

“It’s always strange spending that much time getting into the mind of someone you disagree with that much."

Days after helping Senator Kamala Harris get ready for the Vice Presidential debate, Pete Buttigieg opened up to FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson about what it was like to stand in as Vice President Mike Pence in debate prep.

“I thought it was also an opportunity, as somebody who worked with him, sometimes against him,” Buttigieg continued. “I know him well, I know what to expect from him, and I’m glad I could bring that to the team that was helping Senator Harris get ready.”

Previously, the two men worked together in Indiana, where Pence served as Governor, and Buttigieg served as Mayor of South Bend.

While Harris employed Buttigieg to assist with debate prep, VIce President Pence reportedly participated in three mock debates, with former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and former Florida AG Pam Bondi each stepping into the shoes of Harris.

After the dust had settled in Salt Lake City, Buttigieg said he was “proud” and “thrilled” with Harris’ performance, adding that she was “able to get there and penetrate that force-field of alternate reality that [Pence] likes to create.”

Following the debate though, as was the case with former Vice President Biden during the first Presidential debate on September 29, questions emerged about Harris’ refusal to answer a question about whether the Democratic ticket, should they win, would pack the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, when asked again about their position on packing, Biden told reporters “You’ll know my opinion on Court packing when the election is over.”

With that in mind, Michaelson asked Buttigieg about the calculus of the campaign’s decision to not commit one way or the other on the issue.

“I think what’s going on is that they’re trying to make sure the Republicans are not successful in distracting from the issues in front of us right now,” Buttigieg responded. “Clearly, there’s a lot of interest on the Trump/Pence side to get us talking about anything but the future of our own healthcare, anything but what’s going on with the pandemic, and we don’t want that kind of distraction to overtake the vitally important, much more immediate, in-your-face, urgent issue that’s at stake in this nomination.”

Buttigieg wouldn’t commit to an answer on packing, but did say that the Court is facing some complex institutional issues that need to be dealt with, most notably how the court, and especially the process of nominating new justices, has become so overly politicized. 

While Buttigieg wouldn't commit one way or another on Court packing, he did have some thoughts on another story that garnered a lot of buzz following Wednesday's debate: the fly that landed on the Vice President's head.

“I hope the fly is okay," he joked. "I don’t know if the fly was stuck, or if the fly was trying to warn us about something."

In a wide-ranging interview on The Issue Is, Buttigieg also discussed his new book Trust, his relationship with husband Chasten, and what he's learned from being a Democratic leader in a predominantly Republican state.

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