March 23, 2019

Pete Buttigieg Could Be America's First Gay President

“I’m sitting at a table in the corner of the NoMad Hotel’s Library café, the din of its patrons’ conversations at odds with the two-level library setting. On the other side of the table sits the man who could become America’s first openly gay president, if he’s elected. With hollowed-out vowels and never-fried vocals, he reminds me of a news anchor — authoritative and calm with an accent that betrays no particular region except all the ones it’s not.

“Success to me, in terms of equality, would look like a world where it’s not newsworthy [to be gay and running for president],” says Pete Buttigieg, who launched an exploratory committee for the Democratic nomination in January. “But I also get that it is, and I understand the importance and the sort of historic quality that could be attached to this and all that change that it represents.”

Buttigieg, pronounced “BOO-da-judge,” has kept a relatively lower profile than his better known Democratic contenders, though not for lack of trying. Two days before he met me in New York, he’d hosted a town hall in New Hampshire, an early primary state. As a spokesperson told me, he had plenty of press scheduled after our interview along with an event at the Brooklyn Public Library that evening promoting his new memoir, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future.”

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