Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh drew sharp criticism over his remarks Thursday that former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg could not win the election because “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president.”

“They’re looking at Mayor Pete, a 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 that going to look, a 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man, [President] Donald Trump? What’s gonna happen there?’” Limbaugh said.

While Buttigieg did not directly respond to the comment, he said “I’m proud of my marriage I’m proud of my husband” during a town hall in Las Vegas Thursday night.

Buttigieg’s political competitors defended his sexuality and condemned Limbaugh’s assumption America will not elect a non-heterosexual president.


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“I mean, my God,” former Vice President Joe Biden said on ABC’s The View. “Pete and I are competitors, but this guy has honor, he has courage, he is smart as hell.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who is neck to neck with Buttigieg in the number of delegates received, tweeted Friday that “personal attacks like this are unacceptable.”

“As candidates, we all have disagreements, but personal attacks like this are unacceptable,” Sanders tweeted. “The homophobic comments from Rush Limbaugh about [Buttigieg] are outrageous and offensive. Together, we will end the division and hate led by Donald Trump.”

Even GOP politicians rebuked Limbaugh’s analysis of his perceived national homophobia.

“It’s a miscalculation as to where the country is at,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) told The Associated Press. “I think the country is not going to disqualify somebody because of their sexual orientation.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has supported gay marriage since 2013, when he revealed his son is gay. He said policy ideas, not someone’s sexuality, should determine if you elect a person or not.

“He may disagree, as I do, with their policy positions, but the question is what their qualifications are, not other issues,” Portman told AP.

When Trump was asked by Geraldo Rivera of Cleveland’s Newsradio WTAM, if he thought Americans were ready to elect a gay president, he replied: “I think so.”

However, he added that he thinks some people would not support the idea.

“I think there would be some that wouldn’t,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t be among that group, to be honest with you.”

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