Chasten Buttigieg responded to Ronna McDaniel in a series of media appearances on Wednesday over a tweet she made celebrating LGBT Pride Month, calling the Republican National Committee chair’s language hypocritical.
“Happy #PrideMonth! @GOP is proud to have doubled our LGBTQ support over the last 4 years, and we will continue to grow our big tent by supporting measures that promote fairness and balance protections for LGBTQ Americans and those with deeply held religious beliefs,” McDaniel posted on Twitter on June 2.
Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay Cabinet secretary, fired back the following day, responding: “Those with ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ are often the parents who force their LGBTQ children out of the home and onto the street. I’ve met with those kids. 40% of homeless youth in this country are LGBTQ. Re-visit your party’s platform before you open your mouth about #pride.”
When asked on Wednesday about his response, Buttigieg said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” that McDaniel’s language was “dangerous.”
“Her language is divisive and it’s dangerous and it’s making space for people in their party who seek to harm LGBTQ Americans,” Buttigieg said, invoking Florida’s governor as an example. “It’s making space for people like Ron DeSantis, who used the first day of Pride to sign anti-trans legislation. … I do not believe that is the party of inclusion or acceptance for LGBTQ Americans.”
DeSantis on June 1 signed a bill that would forbid transgender female athletes to play on girls‘ and women‘s sports teams at public schools.
On MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” earlier Wednesday, Buttigieg pushed the GOP to pass the Equality Act, saying that “if the Republican Party is truly the party of LGBTQ inclusivity, which I believe it is not, we should have no problem passing the Equality Act.”
“I think some people like the chairwoman are focused on slapping rainbow stickers on tweets and saying you support the LGBTQ community, but really what we all need to be doing right now is working to pass the Equality Act,” Buttigieg said on MSNBC, referring to legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act to forbid discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Buttigieg doubled down on CNN and spoke out against the Justice Department’s decision that it can defend religious schools’ exemption from anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws.
“The Justice Department is doing its job defending federal law, which is why we need to change the federal law,” he said. “That’s why the Biden administration is asking the Republican Party to pass the Equality Act. We need to pass the Equality Act so that we don’t need to keep having these debates whether or not people get to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans in the workplace or at home.”
A Republican National Committee spokesperson took exception to Buttigieg's remarks.
“Republicans believe in freedom and opportunity for all Americans," the RNC spokesperson said. "While Democrats are focused on demonizing half the country, we are fighting to show that there is room in our party for everyone.”