Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, hit back against a remark made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson about his husband’s delay in coming out as openly gay.
Carlson, ever the right-wing provocateur, attacked Pete Buttigieg for emphasizing the LGBTQ angle of the recent mass shooting in Colorado Springs in a recent tweet, in which the secretary referred to a “pattern” of violence directed against members of the LGBTQ community.
“The violent news from Colorado Springs is sickening and heartbreaking — the more so because there is a pattern. We can not, will not, allow hate to win. We must end this in our time,” Buttigieg tweeted. “No rest until all of us, including all of us in the LGBTQ+ community, can be, and feel, safe.”
The violent news from Colorado Springs is sickening and heartbreaking – the more so because there is a pattern.
We can not, will not, allow hate to win. We must end this in our time. No rest until all of us, including all of us in the LGBTQ+ community, can be, and feel, safe.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) November 20, 2022
Carlson mocked what he saw as Buttigieg’s obsession with identity politics, according to The Hill.
“Pete Buttigieg wants to talk about identity. He always wants to talk about identity,” Carlson said. “And the funny, ironic thing is … just a few years ago Buttigieg wouldn’t even admit that he was gay. He hid that and lied about it for reasons he has never been asked to explain. Why not?”
Buttigieg has previously explained that he did not come out publicly earlier because he was serving in the military during the time when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 1993 policy that barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from being open about their identity, was still in effect. When Buttigieg first joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was still in effect.
Buttigieg later deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, after the policy had been lifted, coming out a year later amid his re-election campaign as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and at a time when Indiana lawmakers were embroiled in controversy over the state’s enhanced “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Critics claimed the law would permit acts of discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. The law was eventually amended to clarify its intent not to foster discrimination, satisfying no one — including religious groups who had pushed for the original bill.
Chasten Buttigieg, who has become a popular figure since his husband’s 2020 presidential campaign, went on CNN to defend his husband in lieu of an official statement from the secretary.
“This kind of rhetoric is easy. It’s so easy to attack people and to go on your talk show and fire people up about something that’s not actually happening,” Chasten Buttigieg told anchor Don Lemon on CNN This Morning.
“I love my husband,” Chasten Buttigieg said. “I know he’s a committed public servant and he has everyone’s best interests at heart.”
He then criticized Carlson indirectly, without uttering his name or the channel he appears on.
“I just think these people, again with these megaphones — they have to have a big platform and rather than focusing on real issues, people’s lives, making them better, they’ve decided to focus on hate,” Chasten Buttigieg said.
The Nov. 19 mass shooting at the Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub Club Q, in which five patrons were killed and more than a dozen others wounded, has evoked memories of, and comparisons to, the deadly Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida in 2016. The suspect in that case, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, whose attorneys say identifies as nonbinary, faces five counts of murder and corresponding hate crime charges, which would carry additional penalties if Aldrich is convicted.
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