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Buttigieg: Homophobic Remarks of Tenn. Lawmaker Don't 'Speak for Most People'

by Sam Cronin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Oct 31, 2019
Tennessee County Commissioner Warren Hurst
Tennessee County Commissioner Warren Hurst  (Source:WVLT screengrab)

After Tennessee county commissioner Warren Hurst's rant about Democratic Candidate Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana Mayor has issued a response.

"Well, he was right about one thing," Buttigieg said to People. "He's right that there is a gay man running for president. He doesn't seem to be right about much else."

He went on to tell People that he's encountered similar homophobic comments on the campaign trail, but stressed that "it doesn't speak for most people. And I think the most important thing is to approach with compassion."

In the wake of his comments, Hurst received negative responses from many other local officials and business leaders, eager to distance themselves from the controversy and to preserve their valuable tourism industry. Famously, Dolly Parton's Dollywood is located in nearby Knoxville.

Hurst's fellow commissioner, Greg Haggard, told WVLT-TV that '"Commissioner Hurst's comments do not speak for the rest of the county commission." Representatives from nearby cities also spoke out, telling WVLT-TV that Hurst's comments were "offensive" and "disturbing."

Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens told KnoxNews that Hurst's views "... do not reflect the Dollywood experience in any way..."

KnoxNews columnist Sam Venable also went on to denounce Hurst's comments on behalf of all toothpick-chewing Americans.

"Every news report about the incident noted that Hurst had a toothpick in his mouth when he erupted," Venable wrote. "It is clearly visible in videos. Does this mean all toothpick chewers utter narrow-minded, racist pronouncements?"

"Of course not," Venable went on. "Having been a toothpick addict since I quit chewing tobacco in 1982 — my wife swears I'm talented enough to hold a toothpick in my lips while sleeping — I contend Hurst's comments do not represent all of us. We are embarrassed by his baloney."

Hurst, who has served on the Sevier County Commission for 33 years, has yet to face any disciplinary action for his comments.

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