Pete Buttigieg 'won't take lectures' from Rush Limbaugh or any Trump supporter

  • Radio host doubts Americans ready for gay candidate
  • Democrat ‘saddened for what Republican party has become’

Pete Buttigieg is “not going to be lectured on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or anybody who supports Donald J Trump as the moral as well as political leader of the United States”, the Democratic presidential contender said on Sunday.

Limbaugh, a conservative talk radio host controversially honoured by Trump, caused controversy this week when he questioned whether Americans were ready to vote for a gay candidate for president.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Buttigieg added: “America has moved on and we should have politics of belonging that welcomes everybody. That’s what the American people are for. And I am saddened for what the Republican party has become if they embrace that kind of homophobic rhetoric.”

During his State of the Union address earlier this month, Trump gave Limbaugh the nation’s top civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In liberal circles, the decision met with widespread criticism.

Limbaugh, 69, who recently revealed he has advanced lung cancer, subsequently said on his radio show that if Buttigieg made the debates later this year, Americans would see a “37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage, next to Mr Man, Donald Trump”.

Voters, he said, would conclude that “despite all the great wokeness and despite all the great ground that’s been covered, that America’s still not ready to elect a ‘gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage’ president”.

Some Democratic voters, he added, might decide they should “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.”

Buttigieg – who is 38 – was initially cautious in response but the remarks were condemned by senior members of both political parties.

Former vice-president Joe Biden, competing for the Democratic nomination, called Limbaugh’s comments “part of the depravity of this administration”.

Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican senator and key Trump ally, said Limbaugh had made “a miscalculation as to where the country is at”.

Asked if Limbaugh should retain the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Graham said: “Well, my God. Free speech still exists.”

Trump also distanced himself from the remarks by his supporter and sometime onstage companion, telling a podcast that though some Americans wouldn’t vote for a gay president, “I wouldn’t be among that group, to be honest with you.”

Buttigieg told Fox News Sunday that when he came out during a mayoral re-election campaign, he received more support than in his first race. He also responded to Limbaugh on CNN’s State of the Union.

“I love my husband,” he said, of Chasten Buttigieg, who he married in 2018 and who like any politician’s spouse regularly appears at campaign events.

“I’m faithful to my husband. Onstage we usually just go for the hug. But I love him very much and I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.”

Limbaugh has been married four times.

Contributor

Martin Pengelly

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
'I've never sent hush money': Buttigieg hits back at Trump and Limbaugh
Democratic presidential candidate made remark after recent homophobic comments from conservative radio host

Oliver Milman in New York

19, Feb, 2020 @1:36 PM

Article image
‘Pete! Pete! Pete!’ Buttigieg fever hits New Hampshire – can he keep up the pace?
In Manchester and Concord the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, shone again as a persuasive centrist in a party moving left

Adam Gabbatt in Manchester, New Hampshire

07, Apr, 2019 @11:44 AM

Article image
'They call me Mayor Pete': Buttigieg launches 2020 presidential run
South Bend mayor makes announcement at rally in his hometown, saluting his husband and setting out his vision

Tom McCarthy and Martin Pengelly in New York

14, Apr, 2019 @8:32 PM

Article image
Pete Buttigieg holds early lead in Iowa caucuses after chaos over results
Iowa Democratic party announces partial results with former South Bend mayor trailed closely by Bernie Sanders

Lauren Gambino in Washington and Daniel Strauss in Manchester, New Hampshire

04, Feb, 2020 @10:08 PM

Article image
Pete Buttigieg confident for New Hampshire as still no winner called in Iowa
Sanders and Buttigieg neck-and-neck in Iowa caucus results while latest New Hampshire poll shows Buttigieg nipping at Sanders’ heels

Daniel Strauss in Manchester, New Hampshire, and Kenya Evelyn in Washington

07, Feb, 2020 @7:37 PM

Article image
Release of major Iowa poll scrapped after Pete Buttigieg's name 'left off survey'
Influential ‘gold standard’ of polls pulled ahead of caucuses on Monday after reported complaint from Buttigieg campaign

Adam Gabbatt in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Martin Pengelly in New York

02, Feb, 2020 @2:53 PM

Article image
Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire primary with Buttigieg second
‘This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump’ says Sanders, as Amy Klobuchar surges to third place and Joe Biden tanks

Daniel Strauss in Manchester, New Hampshire

12, Feb, 2020 @6:15 PM

Article image
Buttigieg v Sanders: Democrats gaining frontrunner status as 'polar opposites'
With the New Hampshire primary nearing, the two candidates represent a split between centrist and progressive Democrats

Daniel Strauss in Manchester, New Hampshire

10, Feb, 2020 @4:23 PM

Article image
Klobuchar attacks Bloomberg and Buttigieg as Democrat infighting grows
Klobuchar hit out at Bloomberg: I think you have to earn votes, not buy them’ as polling shows voters generally satisfied with the candidates

Edward Helmore

10, Nov, 2019 @5:20 PM

Article image
Pete Buttigieg fundraising surges amid attacks from Warren and Sanders
Buttigieg’s successful fundraising efforts have drawn criticism from Democratic 2020 candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders

Martin Pengelly and agencies

01, Jan, 2020 @4:29 PM