Rep. James Clyburn: ‘I Know a Lot of People My Age’ Who Don’t Support Buttigieg Because He’s Gay

By Melanie Arter | November 4, 2019 | 10:38am EST
Rep. James Clyburn (D.-S.C.) (Getty Images/Alex Wong)
Rep. James Clyburn (D.-S.C.) (Getty Images/Alex Wong)

( –Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” on Sunday that he knows a lot of African-Americans his age who don’t support Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg because of his sexuality.

“And I want to ask you about 2020. A new poll out of Iowa places South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg firmly within the top four contenders. That's not the case where you are in South Carolina, where he remains in low single digits,” CNN’s Dana Bash asked.

“A local South Carolina paper obtained a memo from inside the campaign, the Buttigieg campaign, detailing a focus group with black voters, some of whom didn't like that he was living with his husband. And the report concluded that -- quote – ‘Being gay was a barrier for these voters.’ Is Mayor Buttigieg's struggle with black voters in your state of South Carolina because he's gay?” Bash asked.

“Well, that's a generational issue. I know of a lot of people my age who feel that way, but I will say this, Dana. My own grandson, who is 20 -- I think is 25 years old. That guy is a big Buttigieg guy. And, of course, he does it because he believes in the guy, not because he's gay,” Clyburn said.

“Are you saying, for older African-Americans, it is an issue?” Bash asked.

“Yes, it is. There's no question about that,” Clyburn said. “I'm not going to sit here and tell you otherwise, because I think everybody knows that's an issue, but I'm saying it's an issue not the way it used to be. My own grandson is very much for him. He is a paid staffer working on the campaign... working on the campus of HBCUs throughout South Carolina.”


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