Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg Disappoint at CNN Town Hall

Harris, Buttigieg Stumble, Disappoint At Town Hall

Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg drew shade from queer Twitter following a CNN Town Hall event on Monday night. 

Harris delivered a gaffe when she confused, or misspoke about, trans men and women, while Buttigieg failed to prove his policy chops.

California's junior senator was discussing legislation she and her colleagues introduced last year that would ban the use of "gay and trans panic" as criminal defenses in court, but Harris muddled her terminology while describing her position.

“You’ll remember the tragic cases involving transgender men who were killed,” she said. “There was this defense that was happening in court, where the murderer was calling it the gay panic defense, ‘Oh I panicked because I didn’t know he was gay, and therefore I should not be convicted of murder.”

But it seems Harris meant to reference attacks on transgender women based on the context — a community that faces a much greater risk of murder.

Many viewers expressed frustration on Twitter moments after this incident. 

Buttigieg, the first openly gay Democrat to make a serious run for the presidency, didn't fumble on LGBTQ specific questions, but he did leave many viewers asking questions on where he stands.

Many expected the hour-long Town Hall event to show off serious policy positions from the cerebral contender, especially after competitor Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent her week rolling out large policy initiatives. 

However, Vox's Ezra Klein noticed the Buttigieg not only dodged policy specifics but seems to say that they are a feature of his candidacy.

And when he did provide more insights into how he may approach certain hot-button policy topics, the candidate was still met with disappointment. 

Some on Twitter noted that Buttigieg, an unknown a few months ago for most political press, may still get a pass from mainstream media for the moment.

The candidates will have more opportunities to define and refine their positions at future town hall forums. And some, like Buttigeg, are even trying their luck at Fox News as the race to capture the Democratic nomination intensifies. 

Watch the town hall below.

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