Pete Buttigieg Says Gay Presidents Have Already Been Elected but Doesn't Know Which Ones: 'My Gaydar Doesn't Even Work That Well in the Present'

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said it's "almost certain" America has had gay commanders-in-chief in an interview with Axios on HBO.

Buttigieg made the remarks after executive editor Mike Allen asked how the South Bend mayor would respond to Republicans that accuse him of being "too young, too liberal [and] too gay" to be president.

Buttigieg said: "I'll respond by explaining where I want to lead this country. People will elect the person who will make the best president. And we have had excellent presidents who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal."

He continued: "I would imagine we've probably had excellent presidents who were gay—we just didn't know which ones." The mayor added it was "statistically... almost certain."

When pressed to suggest which of the 45 U.S. president might be, or might have been gay, Buttigieg continued: "My gaydar doesn't even work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that's the case."

Although it's impossible to know exactly how many American men identify as gay—and have done in the past—nearly 4 percent of men surveyed in a 2017 Gallup poll identified as LGBT.

The LGBT initialism, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, encompasses a wider scope of sexual orientation and gender identity than gay, non-transgender man.

Buttigieg, who married partner Chasten Buttigieg (née Glezman) in 2018, is the second openly gay man to run for U.S. president after political consultant and gay rights campaigner Fred Karger.

Karger, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2012, praised Pete Buttigieg in a recent op-ed for Newsweek, claiming the young mayor had held his own against his more experienced rivals. "Pete has proven himself to be the best and brightest in the ever-growing field of 22 Democrats running to see who will take on President Trump... I predict that he will be one of the breakout candidates at the first debate. Watch out Joe, Elizabeth, Bernie and Kamala," Karger wrote.

A Fox News poll unveiled Sunday gave Buttigieg a slim edge over President Donald Trump in the 2020 race. The survey, conducted between June 9 and June 12, gave Buttigeig a hypothetical 41 percent of the votes to Trump's 40 percent. Other Democrats, most notably former vice president Joe Biden, had wider margins against Trump in the survey.

But with more than a year left before Americans go to the polls, it's impossible to predict who will be the country's next commander-in-chief.

Pete Buttigieg, 2020 Election
Democratic presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, speaks at the 2019 Blue Commonwealth Gala fundraiser June 15, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Nearly 1,800 attended the event featuring Buttigieg and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Getty/Win McNamee