This Story About Pete Buttigieg Learning To Speak Norwegian Just Makes Us Love Him Even More

Pete Buttigieg continues to make waves.

The Democratic presidential candidate, who is the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is enjoying political momentum this week after his campaign raised more than $600,000 from over 22,200 donations in the 24 hours after he appeared at a CNN town hall in Austin, Texas, to explain some of his policy positions.

You’ll be seeing him sparring in debates in no time, ladies and gents.

And adding to the increased visibility: a sweet story about Buttigieg from Anand Giridharadas, who is the editor-at-large for TIME magazine.

Giridharadas recalled the moment backstage when he introduced Buttigieg to his colleague, Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad.

“Instantaneously, Mayor Pete starts talking to her in Norwegian, like a magic trick,” he said.

He added:

No one is more puzzled to encounter a Norwegian speaker in Texas who is also a presidential candidate than a Norwegian. Åsne gasps.

Mayor Pete explains that he once read a Norwegian author in translation. The trouble is that was the only book available by the author in English. So he learned an entire language to read more books.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. We have no idea who Donald Trump’s successor will be. But we have already found the man most opposite of him.

It’s true: Last month, a New Yorker profile of Buttigieg’s life and career included this tidbit from Buttigieg’s close friend, Nathaniel Myers:

His close friend Nathaniel Myers recalled that Buttigieg had become entranced by the Norwegian novel “Naïve. Super,” by Erlend Loe, taught himself the language to translate another work by the author, and then started periodically attending a Norwegian church in Chicago to keep up.

Oh, and just in case you didn’t know: Buttigieg speaks seven languages conversationally besides English: Arabic, Dari, French, Italian, Maltese, Norwegian and Spanish. Buttigieg’s knack for languages was confirmed in a recent Politico profile by writer Adam Doster, who recounted a day he spent with Buttigieg in South Bend:

During the few days that I hung by as Buttigieg bounced around South Bend last year, he promoted the city’s municipal I.D. cards at a community radio station, gamely dusting off his high school Spanish, one of seven languages he speaks conversationally. He read a Mo Willems picture book to a gaggle of children at a pre-K program, who asked him critical questions afterward, like whether he owned a Lamborghini. (He does not.) I watched him spill a chamoy con mango ice cream bar on his crisp blue suit, nibble on tapas during a happy hour fundraiser and confidently cycle to his favorite bar using South Bend’s dockless bike share system. Without fail, nearly everywhere we went, someone pressed Mayor Pete to run for president.

Seven languages is seven more than the current president speaks, FYI, and we’re not totally sold on whether he has English quite down either. People can’t get enough:

Oh, did we mention that Buttigieg attended Harvard College (where he was president of the Harvard Institute of Politics Student Advisory Committee); was a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College, Oxford; and was in the Navy and served in Afghanistan?

Those who know different languages become adept at bridging cultural divides. It was Seierstad who pointed out that Buttigieg exhibited this ability once again when he wrote a letter of condolences to South Bend’s Muslim community in the wake of this week’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, which claimed the lives of 50 people after a white supremacist stormed two mosques during Friday prayer services.

That letter is below. It reads in part:

As you gather this evening, I write to tell you thtat this City is absolutely committed to your safety and well-being. I want you to know that this entire City has its arms around you, in love and peace, and that we support you as you practice your faith here in this community, our community, this home we share. We will do everything we can to ensure your safety as we do that of everyone who lives here and who visits here.

The diversity of our community is its strength, and the members of the Islamic community have greatly enriched this City, in your worship, in your service, even by the diversity of nationalities among your number. We would be poorer without you.

These are the words the world needs to hear right now—and support for Buttigieg continues to mount.

Keep your eyes on this man, everyone.

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