White House

Trump says he would vote for a gay presidential candidate

The president's comments came up in the context of Buttigieg's barrier-breaking candidacy.

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said he would vote for a gay presidential candidate, a question revived by the success of former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s White House bid.

In a wide-ranging interview on Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera’s podcast, the president also said he thinks it's possible that American voters could one day elect a gay candidate to the White House.

“I think so. I think there would be some that wouldn't, and I wouldn't be among that group to be honest with you,” Trump told Rivera, pointing to Buttigieg’s top-two finishes in both of the first two Democratic presidential contests.

“I think that, yes, I think that it doesn't seem to be hurting Pete Boot-edge-edge as you say, as you would call him,” he argued, using the phonetic pronunciation that Buttigieg’s campaign has deployed. “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."

Buttigieg’s barrier-breaking candidacy has once again become the subject of mainstream discussion as the former mayor has surged in polling. In the Iowa caucuses last week, a contest that is undergoing a recanvass, Buttigieg narrowly beat out Sen. Bernie Sanders in the delegate count, and came within striking distance of the senator in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, the senator’s own backyard.

Trump has previously praised the historic nature of Buttigieg's White House bid, calling it a "sign of great progress" in an interview with Fox News earlier this year.

While Trump has at times sought to fashion himself as an ally of the LGBTQ community, he's faced blowback for enacting and promoting a number of policies that would harm LGBTQ Americans or roll back protections the community.

Most recently LGBTQ rights advocates flayed Trump for awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor — to divisive talk show host Rush Limbaugh in the middle of his State of the Union address.

Days later, Limbaugh, who has a history of making racist, sexist and anti-LGBTQ remarks on his show, came under fire again for a homophobic rant during which he mocked Buttigieg's masculinity and concluded of his candidacy: "America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president.”

The comments sparked immediate blowback from LGBTQ rights supporters, some of whom accused Trump of legitimizing Limbaugh's point of view. The president himself has not weighed in on Limbaugh's remarks, aside from his indirect disagreement Thursday.