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Pete Buttigieg Says It's ‘Almost Certain’ We've Had Gay Presidents


It's a statistical likelihood, Buttigieg said in a wide-ranging interview on Axios, in which he also denounced the current administration.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who will be the first openly gay man to ever appear in a debate for president, appeared on Axios on HBO on Sunday night. During the in-depth interview, Buttigieg defended himself against critics who say he is too young or too gay to be the commander in chief, and ripped the president for targeting transgender people in the military.

"Republicans claimed that John Kerry was a traitor in Vietnam," Axios' Mike Allen began his question. "That Barack Obama was a Muslim. If you were to win the nomination, they'll say you're too young, too liberal, too gay to be commander in chief. You are young. You are a liberal. You are gay. How will you respond?"

"I'll respond by explaining where I want to lead this country," Buttigieg answered. "People will elect the person who will make the best president. And we have had excellent presidents who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal. I would imagine we've probably had excellent presidents who were gay -- we just didn't know which ones."

"You believe that we've had a gay commander in chief?" asked Allen.

"Statistically, it's almost certain," replied Buttigieg.

"In your reading of history, do you believe you know who they were?"

Buttigieg answered, "My gaydar doesn't even work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that's the case."

According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, 9.8 percent of Washington, D.C., identifies as LGBT, higher than any U.S. state. Gallup estimated in 2017 that 4.5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as LGBT.

Buttigieg also answered questions regarding the current administration's ban on transgender people in the military, critizicing Donald Trump for targeting a vulnerable group of people to pick on and for dodging military service himself.

"The military would be fine [with transgender troops], because the military knows how to do their job," Buttigieg said. "This is not a problem because the military is saying they can't handle it. It's a problem because the president is exploiting the opportunity to pick on a vulnerable group, even though these are people who have stepped up to put their lives on the line in a way that the president did not do when it was his turn."

On how serving in Afghanistan would have been different if he had been able to be out, Buttigieg said, "It certainly would have been a weight lifted. When you are not out, that takes work. It takes a certain amount of work, a certain amount of filtering, a certain amount of thought that you could better use in order to do your job. And so I do think that anybody in a deployed environment is better off if they can be themselves."

Also over the weekend, Buttigieg celebrated his one-year anniversary with his husband, Chasten. They both took to social media to celebrate the day, that coincided with Father's Day.

"One year ago I married the love of my life," Mayor Pete wrote on Twitter. "I'm so thankful I found you, Chasten, and can't wait to spend the rest of our life together."

Sharing photos of the pair, Chasten tweeted, "On my way to find this cute guy on the trail. Can't believe it's been one year."

On whether the happy couple is ready to be parents, Pete Buttigieg told CNN's Jake Tapper, "I don't see why not. I think it wouldn't be the first time children have arrived to a first couple, but that's a conversation I better have with Chasten before I go into it too much on television."

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