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Tennessee Official Laments a 'Queer' Running for President

Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst
WVLT-TV screenshot

And his statement even drew applause.  


A Tennessee elected official drew applause Monday night during a homophobic rant lamenting "a queer running for president."

Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst recited a list of societal woes during a hearing on establishing the community as a "gun sanctuary," according to WVLT TV. He also decried that white men in America were losing their rights.

"We got a queer running for president, if that ain't about as ugly as you can get," Hurst said. "Look what we got running for president in the Democratic Party. We can go over here to Hoss's jail and get better people out of there than those running for Democratic to be president of the United States."

The comment was clearly in reference to South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Buttigieg made history earlier this year as the first out candidate to participate in a nationally televised presidential debate.

But Hurst's grievances did not stop with the presence of Buttigieg in the presidential field.

"I'm not prejudice, but by golly, a white male in this country has very few rights and they're getting took more every day," he said.

In video of the comments, another official at the meeting can be seen laughing about Hurst's comments about Buttigieg, who happens to be a white man. Another man can be seen hiding his face in his hands.

Sevier County government has distanced itself from the remarks, according to the Tennesseean.

"The statements made by Commissioner Hurst at the Sevier County Commission meeting of October 21, 2019, do not reflect the opinion or position of Sevier County administration," reads a statement released to local media. "Sevier County is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or status in any other group protected by law. "

The Advocate has reached out to Buttigieg's campaign for comment.

The chamber largely rang out in applause during the remarks, though one woman named Sara Thompson stood up and stormed out, stating, "This is not professional," and cursing at cameras.

"County commissioners need to remember that when they're elected they need to represent everyone," she later shared with a local outlet. "This should serve as a reminder to all county commissioners to have more respect for each other and their constituents."

"I was actually incensed. I think that was a very demeaning and nasty thing to even talk about," she continued.

Sevierville, the Sevier County seat, happens to be where LGBTQ ally Dolly Parton was born. And are now drawing national criticism.

"These statements from @SevierCounty Commissioner Hurst are completely unacceptable and ridiculous, especially coming from a county official," read a statement from GLAAD issued on Twitter. "Call Hurst at 865-453-8513 and demand he apologize to his constituents."

Hurst told a reporter for WVLT that he was entitled to his opinion and stood by the words.

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