Former President Barack Obama didn’t believe Pete Buttigieg could win the presidency because he was too short and gay, according to a new book about the 2020 election.
The book, “Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency,” by the Hill’s Amie Parnes and NBC’s Jonathan Allen, describes Obama’s comments during an October 2019 meeting with elite black donors in New York City.
During the meeting, Obama expressed confidence in Elizabeth Warren — but had some interesting thoughts on Buttigieg. In addition to calling him too short and gay, the former president also thought he looked too young.
The Hill reports:
“He’s thirty- eight,” Obama said, pausing for dramatic effect, “but he looks thirty.” The audience laughed. Obama was on a roll, using the tone of light ridicule he some-times pointed at himself— “ big ears” and “a funny name,” he’d said so many times before. Now, it was directed at Buttigieg. “He’s the mayor of a small town,” the former president continued. “He’s gay,” Obama said, “and he’s short.” More laughter.
The report continues on to say, “Only months earlier, Buttigieg had sat in Obama’s postpresidential office in Washington seeking counsel on how to maintain equanimity in the face of homophobia on the campaign trail. Now, behind his back, Obama was riffing on him to some of the wealthiest Black men in America at a time when Buttigieg had been dubbed ‘Mayo Pete’ by critics who believed he couldn’t connect with African American voters.”
Someone also mentioned Joe Biden to Obama during the meeting, and described his response as “tepid at best.”