Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that his goal wasn’t to become ‘the gay president,’ but admitted he realizes the impact it would make if he became the first openly-gay major party presidential nominee.
‘There’s not a lot of time for reflection on the campaign,’ Buttigieg, 38, admitted to NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning.
‘But yeah, there was a moment before we went out when Chasten pulled me in and just reminded me what this means for some kid peeking around the closet door wondering if this country has a place for them,’ Buttigieg said, reflecting on a conversation he had with his husband.
‘I didn’t set out to be the gay president, but certainly seeing what this means is really meaningful and really powerful,’ he continued.
Buttigieg – and the other Democratic presidential candidates – have been campaigning through New Hampshire since Tuesday in the days after the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses and ahead of the New Hampshire primary election.
While the results of the Iowa caucus have still not been officially called, with 100 per cent of precincts reporting, Buttigieg is shown in the No.1 spot with 26.2 per cent. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is shown in second place with just .1 percentage point less at 26.1 per cent.
The Iowa caucus was thrown into chaos when the app it was supposed to use for reporting precinct results malfunctions and the nearly 1,7000 locations had to result to paper and telephone call reporting and the Iowa Democratic Party had to conduct manual tabulations.
A viral video emerged of one middle-aged female caucusgoer in Iowa asking to change her vote after finding out that Buttigieg, who she initially caucused for, is gay and married to a man.
The individual is recorded telling the precinct captain, Nikki van den Heever, ‘I don’t want anybody like that in the White House’ after she was told that Buttigieg is in a same-sex relationship.
Buttigieg and Chasten have been married for five years, and when the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana was asked about the video Sunday morning, he said he was ‘saddened.’
‘But I’m running to be her president too,’ he said.
‘The reality is prejudice is still out there,’ the youngest 2020 presidential candidate continued. ‘And you’ve got to deal with it. But I would not have been able to be re-elected the way I did in Mike Pence’s Indiana if people were not able to look past that.’
‘Every time somebody seeks to break a barrier, pundits try to make it about electability,’ he noted.
Although Buttigieg’s competitors – of which there are now only 11 – have not made his sexual orientation a point of whether he could get elected or not, they have upped their attacks on him recently for other concerns.
Specifically, Democratic candidates have questioned Buttigieg’s inexperience, noting that he has only served as the mayor of a small town for two terms – and before that had no other political experience.
Before becoming mayor he began working as a consultant for McKinsey & Company in 2007 and in 2009 joined the Navy Reserves before leaving that post in 2017.
Compared, his fellow candidates on stage, Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden have a combined nearly 70 years experience in the Senate.
Sanders, who has vowed not to take any big-donor money, has also waged an attack on Buttigieg for accepting campaign contributions from billionaires.
But Buttigieg defended himself during the eighth Democratic primary debate Friday night, claiming they had to use all their resources to defeat Donald Trump in November.
‘We are going into the fight of our lives,’ he said, citing how much money the Trump reelection campaign is bringing in. ‘We need to go into that fight with everything we’ve got.’
Buttigieg also faced fresh attacks as he surged in a New Hampshire poll days ahead of the primary.
The youngest candidate in the Democratic contest overtook Sanders, who at 78-years-old is the most senior.
Friday’s poll results showed Buttigieg at 25 per cent and Sanders at 24 per cent, a larger margin than Buttigieg’s Iowa victory.