The mayor from South Bend, Indiana was speaking at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Miami, Florida.
He said the fact that Trump won the 2016 election in the first place should have rung alarm bells.
"This president represents a tremendous challenge and we must call out his racism and his demagoguery, but I actually think this president is not the problem.
Because I think a president like this one is not even possible unless something is already deeply wrong in our county," he said.
His remarks follow back-to-back shootings in the U.S. On Saturday (August 3), a gunman killed 22 people in El Paso, a Texas city on the border with Mexico.
Law enforcement agencies say the suspected gunman was driven by hatred for Hispanics, citing an online manifesto apparently written by the shooter that was rife with anti-immigrant hatred.
In the second mass shooting 13 hours later, a gunman in Dayton, Ohio, fatally shot nine people, including his sister, before he was killed by police.
The shootings have intensified criticism of what many say is incendiary rhetoric by Trump.
The president insists he is not racist.
Buttigieg has faced struggles of his own when it comes to issues of racism.
His leadership has been been blasted by some voters in South Bend after the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer in June.