Election News

Pete Buttigieg’s ASL video thanking a deaf supporter has made history and gone viral

Pete Buttigieg, sign language
Photo: Pete Buttigieg

Even before officially announcing his campaign for presidency, Pete Buttigieg impressed supporters with his intelligence and unflappable, plain-spoken responses to homophobia. And now, two recent actions may endear his supporters to him even more.

First, Buttigieg recorded a video thanking one of his deaf supporters in sign language (below), and the video has since gone viral.

Anderson “Andy” Pleasants — a deaf, craniofacial disability advocate currently studying political science and communications at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York — created a bit of American Sign Language (ASL) to represent Pete Buttigieg.

The sign made the letter P on the left side of his chest and the letter B on the right, bridging the two letters in the spirit of Buttigieg’s campaign. Buttigieg has used the bridge as a central campaign metaphor representing his desire to “serve as a connecting force between America’s past and future; the center of the country and the coasts; and conservatives and progressives.”

Related: Chasten Buttigieg talks about his first date with Mayor Pete & it’s adorable

After seeing Pleasants’ sign for his name, Buttigieg created a brief response video in which he said via ASL, “Hi Andy — appreciate your support, thank you!”

Buttigieg may well be the first ever presidential candidate ever to directly acknowledge a deaf supporter via ASL.

When Pleasants saw Buttigieg’s response video, he teared up. “It means so much to see a major presidential candidate actively reach across the communication divide to include those like me, especially in a society where the burden of that divide so often rests on the Deaf individual,” Pleasants wrote on Twitter.

“Keep signing the sign & walking the walk!” Pleasants wrote back to Buttigieg.

In late March, Pleasants posted a video expressing his desire to join Buttigieg’s campaign to ensure that people with disabilities are represented.

Related: Chasten Buttigieg talks about his first date with Mayor Pete & it’s adorable

In other recent news, Buttigieg announced on Friday that he “will no longer accept contributions from federal lobbyists, and plans to return $30,250 to those who have already donated.” Previous to then, Buttigieg had been criticized for being the “only high-profile Democratic candidate to actively accept money from powerful Washington lobbyists,” according to Axios.com.

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