SOUTH BEND – Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Saturday welcomed an unexpected guest to the city: Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg launched two live Facebook videos from a car Saturday afternoon as Buttigieg drove through South Bend. They toured the city as Buttigieg explained its recent history, his background and how he ascended to the mayor’s office. (See the videos here)
Zuckerberg and Buttigieg also talked about the history of Studebaker, the mayor’s “1,000 houses in 1,000 days” and Smart Streets projects, as well as efforts to lure new businesses to South Bend and revitalize downtown.
At one point during the drive, Buttigieg snuck in a joke about the At&T Building downtown.
“Nobody can tell me what’s in there,” he said. “If you ask for a tour, they’ll say no.”
Zuckerberg, wearing his usual outfit (grey T-shirt and blue jeans), and Buttigieg stopped at various sites for brief visits, including The Local Cup coffee shop, the former Studebaker factory site and the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center.
Asked about his visit to South Bend as he walked into the justice center, Zuckerberg said, “It’s good but we’re not doing interviews … I’m going in and am excited to meet some people here.”
Zuckerberg’s spokeswoman, Amy Dudley, said the Facebook chief knew Buttigieg previously and described the pair as friends.
Zuckerberg’s visit was part of his project to stop in states he hasn’t previously visited. The tours are in conjunction with his philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which aims to “advance human potential and promote equality in communities across the country.”
Other recent stops for Zuckerberg include Dayton, Ohio, where he met with people recovering from opioid addiction, and Dearborn, Mich., where he talked with members of the Muslim community. Zuckerberg also stopped at a Ford Motor Company plant outside Detroit.
Visiting South Bend was the first stop in Indiana for Zuckerberg, who helped launch Facebook in 2004 as a student at Harvard, where Buttigieg also attended college.
After the visit, Buttigieg said in an interview that Zuckerberg had “expressed interest in coming to South Bend, and obviously I was happy to host him.”
The mayor also was looking forward to what Zuckerberg would post on Facebook about the tour of the city.
“Like everybody else, I’ll be very interested to hear what he makes of what we’ve shown him,” Buttigieg said.
SOURCE: South Bend Tribune