Trump Responds to Pete Buttigieg Blaming U.S. for Iran Shooting Down Ukrainian Airlines Flight, Says 'He's Going Nowhere'

President Donald Trump described Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as a "lousy mayor," after Buttigieg suggested Thursday that Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 was shot down over Iran as a result of Trump's actions in the region.

Iran on Saturday admitted their military shot the plane down this week near Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, in an accidental move that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed on "human error." The Iranian government's accusation that "U.S. adventurism led to the disaster" was echoed by Buttigieg, who said innocent civilians died because they were caught in Trump's "unwanted military tit for tat." Speaking with Fox News host Laura Ingraham Friday, the president did not respond to Buttigieg's specific claim and instead simply labeled him a "lousy mayor."

"Pete Buttigieg and other Democrats -- I predicted this when I talked to Mike Pompeo yesterday -- are actually blaming your moves against Iran for the downing of that commercial jet liner in Tehran the night of the strikes to our facilities," Ingraham said of the former South Bend, Indiana mayor, whose term ended January 1.

"A couple people started that, but they got hit real fast by a lot of different people, not me. I think it's just lowlifes," Trump said Friday. "Look, he's not going anywhere. He was a lousy mayor of a place that is not doing well, and Indiana is doing unbelievably well. Indiana, the state had the best year they've ever had, thank you very much. But that city was badly run, if you look at what's going on."

"He's going nowhere," Trump added.

On Thursday, Buttigieg remarked on Twitter: "Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all 176 souls lost aboard this flight." He linked to CBS News footage of the downed aircraft and wreckage.

Buttigieg, whose campaign did not respond to Newsweek's requests for additional comments Saturday morning, was not the only Democratic lawmaker to link Trump's role in Iran to the shooting down of the flight.

California Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier described the Ukrainian plane crash as "collateral damage" for Trump taking out Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The president responded to her remarks in a similar fashion, writing off her opinion of altogether.

"I mean, she's another beauty. Take a look at her past. Check out her past, please," Trump said, offering no details.

Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, speaking with Fox & Friends Saturday, described Speier's comments as "disgusting," and said "that's how the Democrats operate." He compared Iran state media to that of the U.S. mainstream media's reporting on the downing of the flight.

Despite Trump's criticism of Buttigieg's tenure as mayor, the Democratic candidate released a $1 trillion, 17-page infrastructure plan this past week. The plan focuses on protections against climate change and the creation of 6 million jobs with "strong labor protections."

The president went on to defend the killing of Soleimani as necessary to fend off "another Benghazi" situation, referencing the 2012 Libya attack by the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia.

donald trump pete buttigieg iran
Trump described Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as a "lowlife" after the former mayor's Thursday accusation that Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 was shot down over Iran as a result of Trump's reckless actions in the region. Screenshot: Fox News
Trump Responds to Pete Buttigieg Blaming U.S. for Iran Shooting Down Ukrainian Airlines Flight, Says 'He's Going Nowhere' | World