A small-town Virginia vice mayor is in hot water after he called gay former South Bend mayor and current Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg a homophobic insult during a Facebook Live video the vice mayor was hosting.
Waynesboro vice mayor Jim Wood discussed the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which could have been a potential environmental catastrophe, during his February 15 show, when he made an offensive remark, the Augusta Free Press reports.
“Look at Ohio right now at this train derailment,” Wood said. “You know the staff that ol’ Pete Buttplug or whatever his name is, is telling everybody, you know, don’t pay attention to that over there, that’s no big deal, oh wait a minute, that’s Trump’s fault.”
Wood isn't the first to make the homophobic comment over Buttigieg's name.
Conservatives blame Buttigieg for the train derailment, saying he should have reacted more quickly, while Buttigieg point to the rollback of train brake standards during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Wood has a history of saying hateful things and later dismissing them as unrelated jokes.
For example, last October, when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul was attacked in the couple’s San Francisco Home, Wood espoused a false and bigoted conspiracy theory as the true story behind the incident.
Wood said on November 2 in another video that the attack was a “domestic dispute” committed by “a male prostitute and advocate for Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ,” according to Augusta Free Press.
Wood said, “Both in their skivvies, and both had a hammer. Nothing to see here. Huh? How about that? Yeah. Yeah. Funny how that works.”
Waynesboro Mayor Lana Williams told local media that she was aware of the remarks and that she had counseled Wood, the News Leader reports.
“I am deeply concerned,” she said.
Most videos on Wood's page have recently been deleted.
Wood told a reporter from the News Leader in a text message that he was "absolutely NOT a reference to (Buttigieg's) sexual orientation, and that "It was a play on his name only."
Wood continued, "His lack of action in helping people affected by the train derailment in Ohio was the topic of conversation. Nothing was said about his personal life."
Either unaware or unfazed by his hypocrisy, Wood made the homophobic comments about Buttigieg two days after Wood seconded a motion for and voted in favor of a measure that would bring funds from Buttigieg’s transportation department to the rural Virginia area to complete a roadway construction project, the paper reports.