Pete Buttigieg: Ending Trump Presidency is a 'Huge Priority Because Our Country's Future Depends On It'

Mayor Pete Buttigieg talked up his run for Democratic presidential candidate Monday night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, right after a new poll put him third to win the nomination behind Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

Buttigieg inched ahead of returning Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders in the USA Today poll, dramatically rising in popularity versus a September poll by CNN that had him fourth for the Democratic bid in the 2020 election.

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, told Fallon that his campaign seems to be winning over American citizens because he has the "right message."

Buttigieg said that message isn't just ousting President Donald Trump from office, but conceded that removing Trump from power "is a huge priority because our country's future depends on it."

Buttigieg said that his campaign is focusing on what the U.S. needs when the Trump presidency ends "one way or the other," an apparent reference to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi's impeachment inquiry into Trump.

"What's America going to need the day after this presidency ends?" said Buttigieg. "When we get there, and the sun comes up over this country, and we're picking up the pieces and figuring out what's next, I think it's going to require that we're ready to undertake bold solutions."

Buttigieg—a U.S. Navy Reserve officer who served in Afghanistan—was also asked by Fallon to weigh in on the conflict between Turkey and Syria. The mayor said Trump has betrayed the Kurdish allies who fought alongside U.S. troops against the Islamic State militant group and are now facing violence from Turkish troops along Syria's northern border after Trump pulled American forces from Syria.

"It's a bad day for America when our country can't be relied on to keep its word," Buttigieg said. "It's taking away our country's honor. It makes the world a more dangerous place. When I am president, we will restore America's credibility because lives depend on it."

Later in the interview, Buttigieg said one of his priorities should he become president would be to introduce effective gun control.

"We can't go on like this," the mayor told Fallon. "I was in high school when the Columbine shooting happened. Since then we've generated a second school-shooting generation. Shame on us if we allow there to be a third."

"We all want to get real gun reform," said the presidential candidate. "There's been way too much talk for way too long."

Buttigieg proposed introducing laws that prevent domestic abusers from purchasing guns and the sale of assault weapons.

Correction (10/22/2019 08:45 a.m.): This article has been updated to reflect that South Bend is in Indiana, not Illinois.