Updated Wednesday, May 1 at 11:56 am
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Outside Elks Lodge 298, a local television reporter jumped in with a question: “Mayor Buttigieg,” he said, “what does it feel like to be back in South Bend?”
It was Dyngus Day, the Polish-inspired holiday that takes place every year on the Monday after Easter. Like home games at Notre Dame Stadium, it’s one of South Bend’s can’t-miss events. Clubs and bars roll out big grills to fry sausages and rib tips, and it’s more or less an excuse for people to sit around drinking beer while the sun is up. Local politicians make their rounds—delivering speeches, shaking hands, picking up Styrofoam clamshells of food that they swear they’ll eat later. This year, attendees greeted Pete Buttigieg like a celebrity, with stacked copies of his book waiting to be signed.“It’s always good to be home,” Buttigieg told the TV reporter.
Less than a week later, Buttigieg had lunch with Oprah Winfrey in Los Angeles. On Monday, he met with Al Sharpton at Sylvia’s in Harlem, and hours later was Trevor Noah’s guest on The Daily Show. Back home in South Bend, while the mayor was on the road, two shootings took place. Buttigieg released a two-sentence statement saying that “law enforcement and neighborhoods must work together to intervene and stop the cycle of violence.” The local NBC-affiliate reporter Joshua Short took to Twitter to express bewilderment, writing, “People are expecting more of a presence than just a response.” Buttigieg flew to Boston on Tuesday, and he plans to be in Minneapolis on Thursday, Dallas on Friday, and Houston on Saturday.