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Mayor Pete Drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers, Talks Progress, Politics & Marriage

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Apr 19, 2019

Openly gay 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg continued a busy week when he stopped by "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

The mayor of South Bend, Ind. made headlines for the way he kept on message and stayed unflappable despite anti-LGBTQ heckling at events in Iowa a few days ago.

Meyers began the chat by taking note of Buttigieg's youth, a point that Buttigieg himself frequently cites. At 37, Mayor Pete, a Millennial, would be the youngest president in history were voters to choose him to succeed Donald Trump in next year's elections.

Meyers then went on to cite Buttigieg's mayorship, and asked how his two terms running South Bend would translate to the task of running the United States.

Buttigieg lost no time outlining a vision for a presidency that sounded like something diametrically imposed to what America has seen thus far from the Trump administration.

"I think what you learn when you're a mayor is that your job is not only to come up with good policies, and also to run an administration capably," Buttigieg replied, "but also just to hold people together and to make sure that you're calling people to their highest values. I think that might be the part that we're most missing in the White House right now."

"I guess at the national level the president thinks when there's a problem you can just say the opposite and just will it away, whether it's North Korea or whether it's domestic issues," Buttigieg went on to say. "But when you're in a community, there are no alternative facts." The candidate then made note of the fact that problems are best addressed by "calling people together to work on that with you" in order to resolve them.

Meyers picked up a photograph of Buttigieg kissing his husband Chasten just after having announced his candidacy for 2020. As the studio audience sent up cheers, Meyers said, "This is an incredible moment," and then asked Buttigieg whether — given the fact that legal marriage equality is still so new in America — the occasion had "an added element to it?"

"If nothing else, it's just a reason to believe, even in this dark and complicated and bleak moment in American politics, it's a reason to be hopeful," Buttigieg replied. "I mean, running for office is an act of hope. You don't do it unless you believe that it's at least possible, using all of the mechanics of the political system, to make better things happen. And as somebody whose marriage exists because nine women and men sat and took a vote — and by the grace of one vote we get to be married now — I understand how the decisions that are made in those big white buildings really affect our lives."

Buttigieg pointed to the way that progress could happen over short spans of time, saying that "at the beginning of this decade I had a choice: I could either be out, or I could be in the military. I could either be out, or I could run for elected office. At least, that's how I viewed it at the time. And the idea that just a few years alter I announced a campaign for the American presidency, and then my husband comes out on the stage to be with me after I do it, just shows you what's possible in this country."

The interview continued from there, touching upon Buttigieg having written a prize-winning essay at age 18 about Bernie Sanders and his policies. "It is a little strange to be competing with him now," Buttigieg admitted. "But frankly, a lot of the people I am competing with are people I admire."

The chat also included Buttigieg relating an anecdote about him officiating over the marriage of a straight couple as they were on their way to the hospital in order for the bride to give birth via C-section.

View the interview in its entirety below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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