The head of Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign in North Carolina made a homophobic crack in front of a reporter while talking about Pete Buttigieg during a meeting with local preachers.
The staffer, James Mitchell, started naming Bloomberg’s rivals: “You have Biden, Sanders, Warren, Butti-Jay,” he said, according to a story written by veteran political reporter Ben Jacobs, which was posted in Medium.com.
Mitchell, then gestured toward a minister, Dwayne Walker, and added: “Pastor, you got me saying what you were saying — Butti-Jay,” to laughter in the room.
Mitchell added: “He said something different — I’m cleaning it up.”
It was a riff on “Butti-gay.”
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is a married gay man.
Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, slammed the remark as homophobic.
“Targeting candidates with juvenile nicknames based on personal characteristics is a Trump playbook tactic and further evidence Bloomberg is running in the wrong primary. The state campaign director’s homophobic remarks are not unlike Bloomberg’s past comments targeting lesbians, trans people, women and others.”
Mitchell, in a statement released by the Bloomberg campaign, regretted his remark.
“Someone made an inappropriate remark, I tried to diffuse it at the time. I wish I had been stronger in my response,” he said.
In the article, Walker and other pastors cited Buttigieg’s sexual orientation as a concern.
It’s not the first time Buttigieg has faced homophobia on the campaign trail.
In response to a woman in Iowa who freaked out after hearing he was gay, Buttigieg said he loved his husband, Chasten, as much as other people love their family members and vowed to fight for all Americans if elected president.
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