Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who served in the Navy during the war in Afghanistan, announced last week that he is forming an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid.
Buttigieg sat down with the ladies of The View on Thursday to talk about his experience as a mayor, his time serving in the military and why he thinks someone from his generation is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.
The View co-host Joy Behar also asked Buttigieg if he thinks America is ready for an openly gay president.
“Well, there’s only one way to find out,” he shot back.
Is America ready for its first gay president?
— The View (@TheView) January 31, 2019
“When I came out, we were in the middle of a reelection campaign,” he added. “I was ready. You know, you’re ready when you’re ready, and I wanted to have a personal life. And it was not obvious that that was going to be a safe thing to do.”
“It was in Indiana, Mike Pence was the governor at the time, and I ended up getting reelected with 80 percent of the vote. So I think that people will evaluate you for the job that you do.”
Buttigieg, who came out in 2015, will also be the first openly LGBTQ elected official to run for President, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
In an interview with CNN in December, Buttigieg wondered if his sexuality would be an issue for more conservative Democrats.
“The only way to know is to get out there,” he said. “I will say I got re-elected with 80% of the vote after I had come out while Mike Pence was governor of Indiana. I don’t think these things decide your fate.”
“As we look to the new generation of leaders, he’s a natural person to be at the top of that list. The things he’s done with his life, the things he’s done in South Bend, his ability to reach people across the political divide. All those things are enormous assets,” Obama political advisor David Axelrod told the South Bend Tribune.