South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said it’s “almost certain” he would not be the first gay man to serve as president of the United States if elected in 2020.
Buttigieg made the comment on Sunday during an interview with Axios on HBO when asked how he would respond to someone saying he was “too young, too liberal, [or] too gay to be commander-in-chief.”
“I’ll respond by explaining where I want to lead this country,” the Democrat hopeful said. “People will elect the person who will make the best president.”
“We have had excellent presidents who have been young,” Buttigieg continued. “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.”
When asked by the show’s host, Mike Allen, if he believed that America already “had a gay commander-in-chief” in the past, Buttigieg said, “statistically, it’s almost certain.” He added, however, that he wasn’t able to identify which of the 44 Oval Office occupants might have been gay.
“My gaydar even doesn’t work that well in the present, let alone retroactively,” Buttigieg said. “But one can only assume that’s the case.”
According to a 2018 survey by Gallup, 4.5 percent of America’s more than 327 million population identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Buttigieg’s sexuality has been a frequent topic on the campaign trail, especially in defense of his lack of political experience.
“I’m a gay man from Indiana, I know how to deal with a bully,” Buttigieg said in February when asked if he was capable of going toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump in a general election.