Though the cultural symbol of Paris was engulfed in flames from Monday's horrific fire, Notre Dame cathedral still stands with the iconic dual bell towers intact.
Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg expressed his condolences and solidarity with Paris in the wake of the devastating conflagration.
The current mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who can speak seven languages, spoke to a reporter from a French-language station BFM TV, in French.
Just when we thought we couldn't love him more, Buttigieg impressed us with this worldly response.
« Au peuple de France je voudrais dire que la cathédrale Notre Dame, c’était comme un cadeau à l’espèce humaine. N… https://t.co/ivPoD4adkT— Cédric Faiche (@Cédric Faiche) 1555372271.0
Roughly translated, Mayor Pete said:
"To the people of France, I would like to say that Notre Dame Cathedral was like a gift to the human race. We share in the pain but we also thank you for this gift to civilization."
Many recognized his compassion in addressing the people of France in their native tongue.
Bravo @PeteButtigieg c’est vrai! N’importe quelle religion, #NotreDame est tout à fait un cadeau à l’humanité. C’e… https://t.co/z1BDYur5tO— Louis Aguirre (@Louis Aguirre) 1555381585.0
@LOUISAGUIRRE @PeteButtigieg I’d be so proud to have @PeteButtigieg as my President. Compare and contrast— Laurie Goldberg (@Laurie Goldberg) 1555381887.0
Buttigieg's response was compared to that of Donald Trump's tweet in which he suggested Paris fire fighters should employ "flying water tankers."
@LaurieGoldberg @PeteButtigieg Flying water tankers. Enough said.— Louis Aguirre (@Louis Aguirre) 1555382331.0
@cmclymer @PeteButtigieg I don’t know French, but I’m going out on a limb here in guessing he wasn’t saying “dump s… https://t.co/cRG1mq5clP— Miranda (@Miranda) 1555378035.0
@GerardAraud @PeteButtigieg I admit I have no idea what he said... But I am going to guess none of it was about tel… https://t.co/EfziuNoFgo— David Carlson (@David Carlson) 1555383547.0
It's a study of contrasts.
@PeteButtigieg Mayor Pete speaks French, while Trump asks us to pardon his.— Tgage (@Tgage) 1555381784.0
@cmclymer @Jersey_Craig @PeteButtigieg So great to hear a Mayor who is real articulate. Trump once agin was an embarassment— Kenneth Larson (@Kenneth Larson) 1555399217.0
You don't need to know French to understand @PeteButtigieg's answer here demonstrates magnitudes more empathy and l… https://t.co/s3PhC0Mmb3— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈) 1555377103.0
@cmclymer @PeteButtigieg This is why I like Mayor Pete. He is the definition of the anti-Trump. Intelligent, though… https://t.co/aZRT4fMIrK— Michelle (@Michelle) 1555380033.0
One user noted another leader who shares similar characteristics with Buttigieg.
@cedricfaiche @PeteButtigieg @BFMTV ...guys we found our Trudeau. Cancel the Candian invasion of the US so we can… https://t.co/WUQpWcAyg9— Jon_Davis (@Jon_Davis) 1555373994.0
@JDAvatar @cedricfaiche @PeteButtigieg @BFMTV Pete Buttigieg and PM Justin Trudeau have the same values and most of… https://t.co/yQf99wd62s— Zan Đoyle (@Zan Đoyle) 1555375619.0
Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the U.S. thanked the South Bend mayor and congratulated him on his French.
Thank you Mayor @PeteButtigieg for this message and congratulations for your french! https://t.co/0zgnKq29OW— Gérard Araud (@Gérard Araud) 1555380098.0
Those who speak fluent French were impressed.
@cmclymer @PeteButtigieg Wow, his pronunciation is really good. His Rs are perfect, and that's difficult for a non-native speaker.— I never finish anyth (@I never finish anyth) 1555377219.0
@HiKifakCava @NathalieGray @cmclymer @PeteButtigieg Well, I am French Canadian and a translator. I have to say that… https://t.co/w0PdoQtcIQ— Sylvie LaRue 🇨🇦 (@Sylvie LaRue 🇨🇦) 1555378015.0
@cmclymer @PeteButtigieg Pete speaks French better than Trump speaks English— Julie Puderbaugh (@Julie Puderbaugh) 1555382279.0
@GerardAraud @JohnJHarwood @PeteButtigieg Thank you Mayor Pete for a kind word to the people of France (in their own language)...— B. L. Bullock (@B. L. Bullock) 1555380907.0
Later, Buttigieg posted a translation of what he told the French reporter and added a link to Aruad's tweet thanking him.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame has been a gift of civilization to all humanity, and we are of one spirit with the Fren… https://t.co/8n6a1l98Wn— Pete Buttigieg (@Pete Buttigieg) 1555381540.0
@PeteButtigieg This is the kind of empathy, class, and eloquence I want to see in a President. 👌🏼— KMW (@KMW) 1555381906.0
The French fire brigade said that experts will assess the damages to Notre Dame and "safeguard" the surviving bell towers and relics.
Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral and announced he would launch an international fundraising campaign to help finance the cause.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the nation will immediately begin an international effort to repair the torch… https://t.co/SC5W3KqIpB— CBS News (@CBS News) 1555375195.0
Buttigieg is proficient in Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari, and French. He taught himself Norwegian so he could read more about an author he admired.
The polyglot is also known as the "the millennial candidate," who joined the crowded Democratic field by kicking off his presidential campaign on Sunday.
The affable 37-year-old told the enthusiastic crowd:
"My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete. I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States."
"I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor. More than a little bold—at age 37—to seek the highest office in the land. ... But we live in a moment that compels us each to act."
The relative unknown from a month ago is quickly gaining in popularity, and "Boot Edge Edge" (the suggested pronunciation) has become a household name.
Pete Buttigieg, vous êtes une source d'inspiration pour nous tous. You are an inspiration to us all!