If the right candidate were running for America’s top office and just-so-happened to be gay, President Trump said he’d vote for them.
Speaking with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera on his podcast Thursday, Trump was asked to comment on whether or not Americans would “vote for a gay man to be president” in light of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 candidacy.
“I think so,” Trump said. “I think there would be some that wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t be among that group, to be honest with you.”
President Trump added that Mayor Pete being married to a man has not hurt his candidacy while admitting that some segments of the voting population would be turned off by it.
“I think that it doesn’t seem to be hurting Pete ‘Boot-edge-edge,’” Trump continued. “It doesn’t seem to be hurting him very much. But there would certainly be a group. You know this better than I do. There would be a group that probably wouldn’t. But you and I would not be in that group.”
President Trump’s remarks regarding Buttigieg’s candidacy correlates with a statement he made last year in which he expressed joy in seeing the mayor openly display his sexuality throughout his candidacy.
“I think it’s great. I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with. I have no problem with it whatsoever. I think it’s good,” Trump said.
According to The Hill, a 2019 Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans would vote for a gay or lesbian presidential candidate. Along party lines, 83% said they would vote for a gay or lesbian candidate versus 61% of Republicans and 82% of independents.
The question of whether or not Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality would affect him in the overall election has been raised in recent days. On Wednesday, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh came under fire when he said that the mayor’s LGBT identity could be a potential weakness.
“They’re looking at Mayor Pete, 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage. And they’re saying, OK, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to ‘Mr. Man’ Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there? And they got to be looking at that, and they’ve got to be saying, that despite all the great progress and despite all the great wokeness, and despite all the great ground that’s been covered, America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage,” Limbaugh said.
“They have to be saying this, don’t they? Now, there may be some Democrats who think that is the ticket. There may be some Democrats who think that’s exactly what we need to do, Rush. Get a gay guy kissing his husband on stage, ram it down Trump’s throat, and beat him in the general election. Really. Having fun envisioning that,” he continued.
Democrats have made similar arguments. Last November, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said that Buttigieg’s sexuality could be a deterrent for older black voters.
“I know of a lot of people my age that feel that way,” said Clyburn. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you otherwise. I think everybody knows that’s an issue.”
In response to Clyburn’s comments, Buttigieg expressed confidence that his candidacy would be able to break through people’s “old prejudices.”
“It is remarkable how Americans are capable of moving past old habit, moving past old prejudices, making history, and getting the president that will serve them best regardless of the other noise that’s circling around the race,” he said.