Chasten Buttigieg has clapped back at recent right-wing attacks on his husband, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, especially Tucker Carlson’s assertion that Pete Buttigieg “lied” for years about being gay and now wants to talk only about that.
Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host lambasted the Cabinet member by saying, “Pete Buttigieg, of course, couldn’t pass up a moment like this,” referring to Buttigieg’s comments about the connection between anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric such as Carlson’s and the mass shooting at queer nightspot Club Q in Colorado Springs.
“It’s not like Pete Buttigieg wants to talk about how things are going over at the Transportation Department, which he supposedly runs — short answer: not well,” Carlson said.
“No, Pete Buttigieg wants to talk about identity. He always wants to talk about identity. And the funny, ironic thing is, until just a few years ago, Buttigieg wouldn’t even admit that he was gay. He hid that and then lied about it for reasons he has never been asked to explain. Why not?”
Actually, Pete Buttigieg has explained several times why he did not come out publicly until 2015, when he was running for his second term as mayor of South Bend, Ind. “You’re ready when you’re ready, and I was ready,” he told The Advocate in 2019, when he launched his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. It had taken him several years to come to terms with being gay, and he first came out to family and friends until making a public announcement in the South Bend Tribune. He wrote in his memoir that he had long feared that coming out would be “a career death sentence.” He had worked as a business consultant, served in the military under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and run for public office.
Chasten Buttigieg elaborated in an interview Friday with Don Lemon on CNN This Morning. He pointed out the DADT connection — Pete Buttigieg was in the Navy Reserve from 2009 to 2017; the policy, under which service members could be discharged for coming out, ended in 2011.
“In the clip, Tucker Carlson goes on to talk about how it seems that my husband only wants to talk about identity rather than this job,” Chasten Buttigieg continued. “And I would just love for him to follow Secretary Pete on Twitter. He can follow along on all of the things that are happening at the department. But remember, 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.”
“I love my husband deeply. I know that he’s a committed public servant and he has everyone’s best interests at heart,” he noted. “I just think these people again with these megaphones, they have a big platform, and rather than focusing on real issues, people’s lives, making them better, they’ve decided to focus on hate.”
He went on to discuss the upcoming vote in the U.S. Senate on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect marriage equality even if the Supreme Court rules against it at some point. The bill has already passed the House.
“Without bringing too much politics into it, I know we’re on the precipice of a marriage equality vote,” Chasten Buttigieg said. “And for any senator out there whose wondering whether they should vote yes or no, I invite them to get to know my family. Spend some time with us the way we spent our Thanksgiving yesterday. Just a family doing everything that everybody else was doing, you know, spending time on the floor, playing with toys, eating a good meal, and enjoying our time together.”