When Pete Buttigieg abruptly announced he was leaving the 2020 Democratic primary just two full days before Super Tuesday, it seemed extremely (extremely!) obvious he was doing so to throw his support behind a candidate to help the party coalesce on the eve of a major primary vote.
And unless you were actively pulling large parts of brain matter out your ear and discarding it causally on the sidewalk, you could deduce he was going to rally behind Joe Biden. Outside of Buttigieg, Biden is one of two candidates to have won a primary—having just pulled off a big victory in South Carolina—and it wasn’t likely Buttigieg was going to do a complete about-face and stump for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.).
So when CNN reported Buttigieg would endorse Biden at a rally in Dallas last night, it was met with a collective “well, duh,” because, well, duh.
Except that Buttigieg’s communications director Lis Smith felt the need to call CNN’s report false.
“Just a note on sources: this source was wrong. This info was wrong. This report was wrong. Networks & news orgs will be better off when they cross off people who tell them falsehoods from their list and also wait to report until they have it solid from people who actually know,” Smith wrote.
Here’s a video of Buttigieg endorsing Biden last night.
Undeterred by what that above video appears to show (which is Buttigieg endorsing Biden at a rally), Smith continued because, well, here’s the pettiest argument of 2020.
That is not a rally for Joe Biden. It’s a rally before the rally for Joe Biden.
“If you are mad about this tweet- @petebuttigieg didn’t go to endorse at the big Dallas rally as CNN reported. We set up an OTR separately and CNN got it wrong. At some point, media outlets should acknowledge when they get it wrong.”
Apparently, this move by Buttigieg, in Smith’s mind, was a state secret tantamount to that time George Bush surprised U.S. troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving.
CNN’s Abby Phillips, who reported the story first, noted that she said “rally” when she only had confirmation that an endorsement was going to happen.
Naturally, everyone was tweeting a video of the endorsement to Smith.
So do people cheering in public for a person onstage constitute a rally? Did Buttigieg even endorse Biden? In this wild, mixed-up time, who can say?