#PetesBillionaires Trends After Bernie Sanders Goes After Buttigieg Over Billionaire Backers Amid Battle for Early States

The hashtag #PetesBillionaires began trending on Twitter across the United States on Friday afternoon after Senator Bernie Sanders went after former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg over his billionaire backers as the two leading 2020 Democratic candidates continue their battle for early-state dominance.

Speaking at the "Politics and Eggs" breakfast at Saint Anselm College on Friday morning, Sanders attacked the 38-year-old former mayor for allegedly cosying up to billionaire donors. "How do we feel when we have candidates in the Democratic Party right now—I'm reading some headlines from newspapers about Pete Buttigieg," the Vermont senator said, before describing his rival as a 2020 candidate that possesses the "most exclusive billionaire donors of any Democrat."

"Which side are you on?" Sanders asked. "We are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy but our political life."

Newsweek reached out to Buttigieg's campaign for comment.

Sanders' remarks comes hours after the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) declared Buttigieg the winner in terms of delegates to the state convention. Buttigieg led Sanders in that metric by one-tenth-of-one-percentage-point margin with 26.2 percent of the state's delegate equivalent count, while Sanders led the popular vote in the first-in-the-nation contest, where results were delayed by several days due to disastrous meltdowns with the IDP's reporting system.

Sanders, Buttigieg
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (R) and former Vice President Joe Biden (L) listen as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) makes a point during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Drake University on January 14, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Scott Olson/Getty

Later, Sanders shared headlines on Buttigieg's "billionaire donor list" to Twitter, writing "this election is fundamentally about whose side you are on" while promoting the hashtag #PetesBillionaires.

This election is fundamentally about whose side you are on. #PetesBillionaires pic.twitter.com/hZi3uzCmvJ

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 7, 2020

Tens of thousands of Sanders supporters took to Twitter to condemn Buttigieg's candidacy for taking money from big donors, as the Vermont senator's staffers promoted the hashtag. "#PetesBillionaires—retweet it," tweeted David Sirota, Sanders' speechwriter. As of Friday afternoon, #PetesBillionaires rose to the third-most trending topic on the social media platform in the United States. At the time of publication, the hashtag had garnered more than 40,000 tweets.

"This presidential election is an election between Democracy vs Oligarchy. #PetesBillionaires," tweeted CJ Berina, a progressive Democrat running for Congress in CA-30 San Fernando Valley.

This presidential election is an election between Democracy vs Oligarchy. #PetesBillionaires

— CJ for Congress (@CJ4Congress2020) February 7, 2020

"6% - percent of America's billionaires that have *donated* to Pete Buttigieg's campaign (40/621). 1% - percent of Latinos supporting Pete Buttigieg according to latest polls. 0% - percent of black people supporting Pete Buttigieg according to latest polls. #PetesBillionaires," software entrepreneur Michael Sayman tweeted.

6% - percent of America’s billionaires that have *donated* to Pete Buttigieg’s campaign (40/621).

1% - percent of Latinos supporting Pete Buttigieg according to latest polls.

0% - percent of black people supporting Pete Buttigieg according to latest polls.#PetesBillionaires

— Michael Sayman (@michaelsayman) February 7, 2020

"HERE'S THE FACTS: - Pete Buttigieg has the Billionaires funding and controlling his Campaign - Bernie Sanders is 100% funded and only listens to We The People! - Let's flood President Bernie Sanders with Donations before tonight's Debate. #PetesBillionaires," Twitter user @KyleLovesBernie wrote.

HERE'S THE FACTS:

- Pete Buttigieg has the Billionaires funding and controlling his Campaign.

- Bernie Sanders is 100% funded and only listens to We The People!

- Let's flood President Bernie Sanders with Donations before tonight's Debate.#PetesBillionaires

— kyle jones (@KyleLovesBernie) February 7, 2020

"Pete is taking bribes from billionaires. Pete is an example of what is wrong with American politics. #PetesBillionaires," Twitter user @PostScarcityPal wrote.

Pete is taking bribes from billionaires. Pete is an example of what is wrong with American politics. #PetesBillionaires

— Post-Scarcity-Pal 🏴 🍞📚🛸 (@PostScarcityPal) February 7, 2020

"Pete has 39 billionaire donors. Bernie has zero," Twitter user @bourgeoisalien wrote. "Bernie will work for all of us, Pete will work for his mega-rich donors who now own him. I know whose side my candidate is on, do you? #PetesBillionaires."

Pete has 39 billionaire donors.

Bernie has zero. Bernie will work for all of us, Pete will work for his mega-rich donors who now own him.

I know whose side my candidate is on, do you?#PetesBillionaires

— Beth (@bourgeoisalien) February 7, 2020

"Congratulations Pete Buttigieg, you now have more billionaires bribing you than Joe Biden. #PetesBillionaires," user @SharnaAisha tweeted.

Congratulations Pete Buttigieg, you now have more billionaires bribing you than Joe Biden. #PetesBillionaires https://t.co/RDvDWjKvQt

— Aisha Sharna (@SharnaAisha) February 7, 2020

"Agreed, @BernieSanders. That's also why I endorsed you while my opponent endorsed a billionaire trying to buy his way into the presidency. #PetesBillionaires #Bloomberg #utpol," tweeted Daniel Beckstrand, who's running for Congress in Utah.

Agreed, @BernieSanders. That’s also why I endorsed you while my opponent endorsed a billionaire trying to buy his way into the presidency. #PetesBillionaires #Bloomberg #utpol https://t.co/AUIjl2sjyG

— Dan (@Beckstrand2020) February 7, 2020