Buttigieg to Trump: My marriage never involved 'hush money to a porn star'

Following Rush Limbaugh's controversial remarks about Buttigieg's sexuality, the presidential candidate said he's ready to debate Limbaugh and Trump on "family values."
By Tim Fitzsimons

Pete Buttigieg continued his public feud with Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday following remarks the conservative talk show host made about the presidential candidate's sexuality and husband.

Speaking at a CNN town hall, Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, turned Limbaugh's controversial comments— in which he openly wondered whether Americans were ready to elect a gay man who was "kissing his husband on the debate stage" — back at both Limbaugh, who has been married four times, and President Donald Trump, who has been married three times.

"The idea of the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump lecturing anybody on family values?" Buttigieg said Tuesday night.

"I mean, I'm sorry, but one thing about my marriage is it's never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse with him or her," Buttigieg, who has been married to his spouse, Chasten, since 2018, said to applause.

"So, they want to debate family values? Let's debate family values. I'm ready."

On his radio show last week, Limbaugh mused about how Trump might run against a gay candidate and predicted "that America's still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president."

After strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, Buttigieg has come under new scrutiny this month over his electability, a characteristic that 56 percent of Democratic voters said they would like to see in the next presidential candidate, according to a Monmouth University poll released this month.

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One day after Limbaugh's show broadcast, Trump said he would vote for a gay candidate during an interview with talk show host Geraldo Rivera. He said that while there would "certainly be a group" of Americans who wouldn't, "I would not be in that group."

But at the CNN town hall, Buttigieg wasn't buying what Trump was selling. Asked whether he takes Trump at his word, Buttigieg said, "Not if he's sending out his supporters to talk in this way," referring to Limbaugh.

Limbaugh revealed on his radio show Monday that Trump called him right after his Buttigieg remarks garnered national attention — and "moments" before Limbaugh underwent a lung cancer procedure — to tell him to "never apologize."

During the same program, Limbaugh speculated that the media were set off and had pegged him as a "homophobe" not because of his remarks about Buttigieg's electability and his "kissing his husband," but because he had revealed to "low information voters" who didn't know that Buttigieg is gay.

"I think they are mad about my remarks about Mayor Pete, because I think they think a lot of people didn't know that he's gay," he said. "I think that's what they are really mad about."

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