MSNBC’s Matthews Compares Buttigieg to Kennedy: ‘It’s Wonderful’ You Are Openly Running as a Gay Man

Monday during an MSNBC live town hall from Fresno, CA, host Chris Matthews complemented 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg for running as an openly gay man by likening him to former President John F. Kennedy.

Matthews said, “With your candidacy, we’re at kind of a new frontier. We had a Catholic president when I was growing up. This is not just political talk. Soon after he was elected president, his religion never came up again. It wasn’t relevant. There were bigger things. We were fighting the Russians, Cuban missile crisis and things that like, much more important. The first African-American president. I, growing up thought, wow, this might be a challenge for the country, but yet Michelle Obama was enormously popular as first lady, 70%-something popularity.”

Buttigieg said, “She was really good at it.”

Mathews continued, “Chasten is here, and I think I want you to talk about the people, not like Mike Pence, who are never going to vote for you, for all kinds of reasons, partisan and other—”

Buttigieg interjected, “Hey, there is hope for everybody.”

Matthews asked, “What about the people who honestly say ‘gay couple in the white house, let me think about that?’ What do you want to say to them? They just want to think about it.”

Buttigieg said, “I would ask them to think about what kind of president I would make and how I would serve them. That’s what we did in South Bend. When I came out, it was relatively late, certainly compared to Chasten. I was already mayor. I had been through this deployment, and it prompted me to realize you only get one life, and I got to get on with the personal life, and that means coming out. It happened to be an election year, and we weren’t sure what the politics of it would be. I mean, Mike Pence was governor of our state at that time. South Bend was democratic but quite socially conservative. I got re-elected with 80% of the vote because people just cared about what job I was doing for them as mayor. And I trust Americans to do the same thing nationally.”

Matthews concluded, “I’m a student of people like Kennedy. I have to tell you one of the reasons he won the West Virginia primary is he did it the way you’re doing it, very direct, very open, very clear and let them make up their minds. I think it’s wonderful the way you are doing this.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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