Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg drew a sold-out crowd to a fundraiser at an iconic West Hollywood gay bar on Thursday.
Attendees at The Abbey each paid about $25 to attend the grassroots event for Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who was introduced by his husband, Chasten.
“If anybody tells you whether they’re not sure if America is capable in these twisted and dark times of delivering or vindicating our hopes,” Buttigieg told the crowd, “tell them you saw at The Abbey in West Hollywood the top tier presidential candidate on his way to the White House, moments after his husband introduced him.”
The location of the fundraiser took on increased significance for Buttigieg’s supporters, especially those from the LGBTQ community who see themselves represented by the first major openly gay Democratic presidential candidate.
“A presidential candidate even being seen at The Abbey would have been viewed as a red letter scandal not 10 years ago,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Speaking to an estimated 700 supporters, Buttigieg responded to President Donald Trump’s jab the day before, when he appeared to mock Buttigieg’s ability to adequately deal with foreign leaders.
“You can’t get too worried about the name-calling and the games he plays,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “The negotiations that they are conducting, whether it’s on trade or things like North Korea, are usually a personal high-wire act with no safety net.”
The 2020 hopeful also managed to keep it light, talking about his rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy, with TMZ. He told the entertainment outlet that the two pups have enriched his life, and he confirmed he won’t give up dog dad duties if elected president.
When asked by TMZ whether he’ll still personally clean up after his dogs if elected, Buttigieg responded, “Yeah, dogs don’t care, so I guess we have to do it.”
The Abbey event was just one of several fundraisers Buttigieg had slated for Thursday. Earlier that afternoon, he attended a lunch in Brentwood and later that evening, he went to a fundraiser hosted by actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Tickets for both events started at $250 a person, according to Variety.