South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is seeking to become the first openly gay president of the United States, said in an interview that aired Sunday that it is statistically “almost certain” that the country has had previous gay presidents.
“I would imagine we’ve probably had excellent presidents who are gay, we just didn’t know which ones,” Buttigieg said during an interview on “Axios on HBO.”
Host Mike Allen pressed Buttigieg, 37, on whether being young, liberal and gay would be liabilities if he becomes the Democratic nominee against President Trump.
“People will elect the person who will make the best president,” Buttigieg said. “And we have had excellent presidents who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal.” He added that the country has also probably had some who are gay.
“You believe that we’ve had a gay commander in chief?” Allen asked.
“I mean, statistically it’s almost certain,” Buttigieg replied.
“In your reading of history, do you believe you know who they were?” Allen asked.
“My gaydar doesn’t even work that well in the present, let alone retroactively, but one can only assume that’s the case,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg entered the race as a little-known mayor from a modest-sized city. But in recent months, he has become one of the more prominent candidates in the crowded Democratic field, regularly polling among the top five nationally.
On Sunday, Buttigieg stepped off the campaign trail following a deadly shooting by a police officer in his city and canceled a planned appearance Monday at an LGBTQ gala in New York hosted by the Democratic National Committee.