Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg sat down with CNN’s Van Jones over the weekend for an excellent interview covering a wide range of topics including the candidate’s husband Chasten, white privilege, and standing out in a crowded Democratic field.
Said Buttigieg: “The way you survive the Flavor of the Month period, or with 20 of us it’s probably a Flavor of the Week period… But the way that you do it is through substance. You gotta make sure that you’re putting forward something that others aren’t, or at least that you’ve got a fresh and different vocabulary that can reach people who maybe have tuned us out.”
Buttigieg also talked about white privilege: “If you’re a white candidate you need to be thinking and talking about things like white privilege. It’s an honest engagement in good faith among people who have had radically different experiences but largely shared interests. We’ve got to figure out a way to use identity as a basis of solidarity.”
“Right now, identity as means of division is being mastered by this White House,” he added. “We’re in a moment of peak white identity politics. And it’s being used to divide us across the working middle class, to divide us regionally, to divide us on partisan lines.”
Buttigieg also talked about his marriage to his husband Chasten, and how Chasten is dealing with it.
Said Buttigieg: “He’s pretty good at rolling with it, and I’m lucky for that. Frankly, he’s one of the best things I’ve got going for me. I love him. He’s grounded. He keeps me grounded.”
Buttigieg said he was impressed by Chasten’s ability to handle the fact that he was dating the mayor of South Bend: “He was really alive to the ways that we could use our abilities to help people, to make people feel better just by showing up at their event. He’s taken that same attitude on the trail. He definitely got more than he bargained for.”
Asked what drew him to his husband, Buttigieg added: “He’s got this really quick wit. If you follow him on Twitter you’ll see what I mean. I met him through this app called Hinge. As soon as I saw his picture, I saw something in his eyes. I said ‘I gotta meet this guy.’ And then I did. I was trying to keep up with him, and what I found was that I’m still trying to keep up with him in a lot of ways.”
Buttigieg talked about their rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy, who is on a “weight loss journey.”
Asked about how he’s going to deal with countries that are anti-LGBTQ, Buttigieg added: “When we show leadership, people respond, and that includes when we show by an election that we’re an inclusive country — whether that’s about an LGBT leader or in some other way — that other country leaders would actually be, to some extent, forced by world opinion to make some advancements. It’s one of the things that’s at stake right now if America is not trusted, is not respected, then it won’t much matter what we have to say about that or any other human rights issue.”