Video: Pete Buttigieg Speaks French During French TV Interview on Notre Dame Fire—and Twitter Loves It

In the wake of the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg paid his respects—in French.

His comments, given to a local news outlet in France called BFM TV, earned him admiration on Twitter, where his statement quickly racked up thousands of views and likes.

“To the people of France I would like to say that Notre Dame Cathedral was like a gift to the human race,” said Buttigieg. “We share the pain but we also thank you for this gift to civilization.”

Retweeting the BFM TV news segment on social media, French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud wrote: “Thank you Mayor for this message and congratulations for your french!” A slew of comments under the outlet's tweet heaped praise on the South Bend, Indiana, mayor, who reportedly speaks seven languages, including Spanish, Italian, Norwegian and Arabic.

“America needs you the world needs you—Ladies gentlemen this is what a president sounds like,” read one comment that gained hundreds of likes. Another added: “This intelligence is something I'm craving. How wonderful to reach out to the people of France this way.”

A third comment took aim at President Donald Trump's suggestion of using “flying water tankers” to help stop the spread of flames—a suggestion that yesterday earned a corrective response from France's defence agency, Sécurité Civile. “Something tells me this wasn't French for ‘flying water tankers,'” the user wrote, a quip that earned close to 1,000 positive reactions.

The official Sécurité Civile account—in a black hole-size subtweet yesterday—stated: “Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible Notre Dame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.”

The exact cause of the blaze remains unclear right now. Portions of the building were under renovation when the fire broke out. While the spire and vaulted ceiling have collapsed, it is expected the wider structure will survive the fire.

Harrowing images dominated global media yesterday as the spire crumbled and toppled. The Paris Fire Brigade said the cathedral's “main works of art had been put somewhere safe.”

"After more than 9 hours of fierce fighting, nearly 400 firefighters from Paris extinguished the appalling fire. Two policemen and a firefighter were slightly injured,” read one update.

Buttigieg paid additional respects Monday evening. “The Cathedral of Notre Dame has been a gift of civilization to all humanity, and we are of one spirit with the French people this evening,” he wrote, responding to Araud's Twitter message.

Notre-Dame Cathedral
Smoke and flames rise from Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019 in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, collapsing the spire. The cause is yet unknown but officials said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images