House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn said Sunday there’s “no question” that Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg being openly gay is an issue for older black voters.
Mr. Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, was asked by CNN’s Dana Bash whether Mr. Buttigieg’s struggle with black voters in his state was “because he’s gay.”
“That’s a generational issue,” Mr. Clyburn answered. “I know of a lot of people my age who feel that way. But I will say this, Dana, my own grandson who is 25 years old, that guy is a big Buttigieg guy and, of course, he does it because he believes in the guy, not because he’s gay.”
Ms. Bash pressed, “Are you saying that for older African Americans it is an issue?”
“Yes it is, there’s no question about that,” Mr. Clyburn responded. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you otherwise, because I think everybody knows that’s an issue. But I’m saying it’s an issue not the way it used to be. My own grandson is very much for him. He is a paid staffer working on the campaign.”
Mr. Buttigieg responded to Mr. Clyburn’s comments on Monday, telling CNN’s John Berman that he believes Americans are capable of “moving past old prejudices.”
“[Elections] are about voters asking the question, ‘how will my life be different if you get elected president versus somebody else?’ I think we have the best answer to that question,” he said. “If I can do my job and get that answer in front of as many voters as possible it is remarkable how Americans are capable of moving past old habits, moving past old prejudices, making history and getting the president who will serve them best regardless of some of the other noise that’s circling around the race.”
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