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Pete Buttigieg to Antigay Iowa Voter: I'd 'Be Her President Too'

Pete Buttigieg to Antigay Iowa Voter: I'd 'Be Her President Too'

Pete Buttigieg

The gay presidential candidate responded to an Iowa woman who tried to take back her vote.

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Pete Buttigieg has responded to an incident in which an Iowa caucus voter tried to take back her vote for the Democratic presidential candidate after learning he is gay.

"I don't want anybody like that in the White House," the voter told caucus precinct captain Nikki van den Heever, who attempted to defuse the woman's homophobic statements, as seen in a viral video that was posted to Twitter and Reddit.

"The whole point of it is, though, he's a human being, right? Just like you and me, and it shouldn't really matter," van den Heever responded to the antigay voter at the time.

In a Wednesday interview with NBC News, Buttigieg said he "felt proud" of van den Heever, "who on my behalf was speaking to her and speaking to her with respect."

"I'm sad to see that it doesn't seem that she reached her, but I also think that that is part of what change looks like -- deep real change is looking people eye to eye and engaging them with compassion," he said.

Buttigieg, who married his partner, Chasten, in 2018 while he was still mayor of South Bend, Ind., emerged on top of the Iowa caucus -- after a period of bedlam due to app-related polling inconsistencies -- alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders. His success at the polls, he said, speaks to how he could surmount the stigma in a presidential election.

"If someone like me, in Indiana, while Mike Pence was governor, could come out and get r-elected with 80 percent of the vote, then anywhere in America I believe people can move past old prejudices," he said.

"At the end of the day, [the election] is not about me or about this president," he added. "It's about the voters' questions of how their lives will be shaped by the choice they're about to make."

Buttigieg also responded to the incident Thursday on ABC's The View, in which he directly addressed the antigay Iowa voter. "What I want her to know is that I'm running to be her president too," Buttigieg said, adding that he hoped she could perceive that "my love is the same as her love for those that she cares about."

"But if she can't see that ... if I'm elected president, going to get up in the morning and try to make the best decisions for her and the people that she loves," he said.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.