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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg gives keynote address at Human Rights Campaign's gala, Las Vegas, May 11. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg criticized social conservatives and accused some Democrats of playing "identity politics," exacerbating a "crisis of belonging in this country," in a Las Vegas speech addressing claims of white privilege Saturday.

"What every gay person has in common with every excluded person of any kind is knowing what it's like to see a wall between you and the rest of the world and wonder what it's like on the other side."

Context: The South Bend, Indiana, mayor, has been criticized previously for being a privileged white man. April polling shows he has about 2% support among African-Americans. Buttigieg has said his "first serious mistake as mayor" was firing the city’s first black police chief. Taped conversations between officers in the department contained racist comments. Buttigieg has said he's never listened to the tapes.

The big picture: Buttigieg asked supporters last month for help diversifying his mostly white base. On Saturday evening, he noted during his speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a major LGBTQ rights group, that his experience of discrimination was different than others in the community.

"I may be part of the LGBTQ community. But being a gay man doesn’t even tell me what it’s like to be a trans woman of color in that same community, let alone an undocumented mother of four or a disabled veteran or a displaced autoworker."

On social conservatism, he said, "We have allowed conservatives to monopolize the language of freedom, but we know that freedom isn't just about freedom from, it's about freedom to. Not just freedom from regulation, but freedom to live a life of your choosing."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.