A prominent writer says Pete Buttigieg saved her from a potential assault in college as an explanation for her donation to his campaign

pete buttigieg

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South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is seen at the 2019 ESSENCE Festival on July 7.

  • Writer and popular left-leaning Twitter personality Nicole Cliffe was criticized Friday night after it surfaced that she donated the maximum amount possible, $2,800, to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president.
  • Cliffe, who has stated that she's a Senator Elizabeth Warren supporter, also donated $500 to the Warren campaign a few weeks after donating to Buttigieg.
  • Responding to a callout in a since-deleted tweet, Cliffe said Buttigieg wasn't her candidate, but she decided to pledge financial support when she found out he was running, because he saved her "from a potential assault" in college.
  • In a Boston Globe article about Buttigieg's peers at Harvard University, Cliffe was quoted saying Buttigieg stepped in to defend her from a group of men harassing her at a bar. In college, Cliffe dated one of Buttigieg's roommates.
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Nicole Cliffe is a popular left-wing Twitter personality and writer known for founding the website The Toast and, in part, for charitable giving. On Friday, it surfaced that she donated the maximum amount possible as an individual to Mayor Pete Buttigieg's campaign.

This resulted in some confusion, given that Cliffe is critical of moderate left and centrist positions and since she's a supporter of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Buttigieg has positioned himself as a centrist in a strikingly far left pack of Democratic candidates. He is a frequent target of leftist ire online.

Federal Election Commission data shows Cliffe has registered two individual contributions. She donated the maximum amount possible, $2,800, to Pete for America, Inc. on March 17, 2019. On March 31, she donated $500 to Warren for President, Inc.

The Twitter user who Cliffe addressed in a since-deleted tweet wrote, "several of my friends will just straight-up f---ing die young if Buttigieg got elected and keeps our health insurance system as it is, but I guess it's probably more important to have solidarity with your rich Harvard classmates than with the f---ing people."

In her now-deleted tweet and in replies that are still public, Cliffe explained that she decided to donate to Buttigieg when she first learned that he was running because he saved her "from a potential assault in college."

She told the same anecdote to the Boston Globe, who ran it in a story about Buttigieg's classmates at Harvard. Cliffe told the Globe she knew Buttigieg in college because she once dated one of his roommates and that he stepped in when a group of men confronted her at a bar. 

"He did just did it very quietly and with great ease," she told the Globe in May 2019. Nonetheless, Cliffe confirmed that she isn't donating any more money to Buttigieg, nor is she planning to vote for him.

"I did not donate during the last like nine news cycles," she wrote. "He's a centrist, I am not. I wish him well."

The Buttigieg campaign referred Business Insider to the account given in the Boston Globe, adding no further comment. Cliffe didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

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