Donald Trump has said he would be prepared to vote for a gay president – although he doubts all Americans agree.
Buttigieg finished a controversial first in the Iowa primary and a close second in New Hampshire. While experts say other states will be harder to crack, he has confounded predictions so far.
On the other hand, there is a long way to go. Buttigieg has just 22 of the 1,990 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination to run against Trump. Bernie Sanders, placed second, has 21.
Now Trump has indicated he could support a gay president in the future. But he also signalled that he believes Buttigieg will lose some support because of his sexuality.
Noting Buttigieg’s success in Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump added: ‘It doesn’t seem to be hurting him very much.
‘But … there would be a group that probably wouldn’t. But you or I wouldn’t be in that group.’
Is America ready for a gay president?
Many experts have speculated over whether America is ready to vote for a gay president in the 3 November 2020 elections.
Polling indicates it will be a hurdle for Buttigieg if he continues in the race – but not an insurmountable one.
A Morning Consult and Politico poll in October 2019 found 50% are either ‘definitely or probably’ ready to have an openly gay commander-in-chief.
Another 37% said they ‘definitely or probably’ are not ready.
Despite their own views, many don’t believe the country is ready. Just 40% thought the US could choose a gay president compared to 45% who thought not.
And the split in votes could matter too. There’s most opposition to the idea among Republicans but even some Democrats aren’t supportive.
The survey said 58% of Republicans, 32% of independents and 22% of Democrats aren’t ready for a gay or lesbian president. As an interesting comparison, when asked about a female president, 36% of Republicans, 15% of independents and just 8% of Democrats aren’t ready.
In a farcical case in Iowa, one Democrat initially voted for Buttigieg. Then when she discovered he is gay, she asked if she could take her vote back.
‘A gay guy, kissing his husband on the debate stage’
One person who insists America won’t choose Buttigieg is right-win radio commentator Rush Limbaugh. Trump awarded Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week.
The shock jock said: ‘They’re sitting there and they’re looking at Mayor Pete, 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage.
‘And they’re saying, “okay, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband onstage next to Mr Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?”
‘America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy, kissing his husband on the debate stage, president. They have to be saying this, don’t they?’
He also believes Buttigieg’s kissing his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, ‘causes problems for parents’.
But Buttigieg himself believes that his relationship can help him appeal to some voters.
Speaking at a meeting last week he said:
‘The fact that I’m standing here — the fact that my husband’s in the audience watching right now — is just an amazing example of that belief that yes, yes, you belong, and this country has a place for you.’