Right-wing media personality Rush Limbaugh has claimed that Americans won’t vote for former Mayor Pete Buttigieg because he “loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage.”
Limbaugh, who was controversially given the Presidential Medal of Freedom during Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last week, has a history of anti-LGBTQ, racist, and sexist comments.
In a recent segment on his radio show about the Democratic candidates for president, Limbaugh said, “A gay guy, 37 years old, loves kissing his husband on debate stages. Can you see Trump have fun with that?”
Limbaugh, who recently revealed he has advanced lung cancer, then asked how Americans would view Buttigieg standing next to “Mr. Man Donald Trump.”
“They’re looking at Mayor Pete, 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage,” Limbaugh said, in comments highlighted by Media Matters. “And they’re saying, ‘OK, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?’
“They got to be looking at that, and they’ve got to be saying, that despite all the great progress and despite all the great wokeness, and despite all the great ground that’s been covered, America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president,” he continued.
He then said that some Democrats want a “gay guy kissing his husband on stage” to “ram it down Trump’s throat, and beat him in the general election.”
He added: “Really. Having fun envisioning that.”
Limbaugh was criticized for the comments from both Democrats and Republicans.
“It’s a miscalculation as to where the country is at,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), told the Associated Press. “I think the country is not going to disqualify somebody because of their sexual orientation.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), whose son is gay, said, “[Limbaugh] may disagree, as I do, with their policy positions, but the question is what their qualifications are, not other issues.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden slammed Limbaugh’s comments while appearing on The View, calling them “part of the depravity of this administration.”
“Pete and I are competitors, but this guy has honor, he has courage, he is smart as hell,” Biden said.
The View co-host Joy Behar noted that Buttigieg “served in the military bravely for his country.”
“The ‘Man’ got out with a deferment because he had bone spurs,” Behar said of Trump. “Rush Limbaugh, you know how he got out of the army? He got a cyst on his butt. That is a fact.”
Co-host Sunny Hostin added: “[Limbaugh] is woefully deficient in terms of being chosen as a presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.”
LIMBAUGH SAYS AMERICA NOT READY TO ELECT “GAY GUY”: Rush Limbaugh, who recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, faced backlash after questioning Pete Buttigieg’s electability because of his sexuality – the co-hosts react. https://t.co/1091s9WYqN pic.twitter.com/ClMR6bgtNb
— The View (@TheView) February 13, 2020
Trump also addressed the comments during an interview with conservative radio host Geraldo Rivera, saying there “would certainly be a group” who wouldn’t back Buttigieg because of his sexuality, but he and Rivera “would not be in that group.”
“I think there would be some that wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t be among that group to be honest with you,” Trump said. “But I think that yes, I think that it doesn’t seem to be hurting Pete Buttigieg…. It doesn’t seem to be hurting him very much.”
Buttigieg is currently leading the race to earn the Democratic nomination for president, with 22 pledged delegates after two states have cast their votes.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is second with 21 delegates, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is third with eight.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!