Pete Buttigieg slams Ron DeSantis for ‘trying to prove his manhood’ with anti-LGBTQ+ video

An edited image of Pete Buttigieg and Ron DeSantis next to one another.

Pete Buttigieg has ridiculed presidential candidate Ron DeSantis after his campaign shared a bizarre anti-LGBTQ+ video, cementing the Florida governor’s homophobic views.

A campaign Twitter account named DeSantis War Room shared a clip published on 30 June boasting about the Florida governor’s storm of anti-LGBTQ+ policies and legislation.

The strange ad starts with a set of clips that frame former president Donald Trump as supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, followed by a clip of him saying that he would “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ+ citizens”, which Trump made shortly after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.

The video then cuts to a picture of Ron DeSantis edited to have lightning coming out of his eyes, while pictures of him marching are edited side-by-side with clips of the fictional serial killer from American Psycho, Patrick Bateman, who has become a twisted symbol of masculinity among far-right groups.

In response, Buttigieg made his feelings on the ad clear during a Sunday (2 July) interview on CNN’s State of the Union.

“I’m going to leave aside the strangeness of trying to prove your manhood by putting up a video that splices images of you in between oiled-up, shirtless bodybuilders,” he said. “And just get to the bigger issue that is on my mind whenever I see this stuff in the policy space, which is, again, who are you trying to help?

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“I just don’t understand the mentality of somebody who gets up in the morning, thinking that he’s going to prove his worth by competing over who can make life hardest for a hard-hit community.”

The openly gay transportation secretary added that he was puzzled by DeSantis’ campaign strategy of targeting a community that is “already so vulnerable in America”.

Since announcing his presidential candidacy in May, DeSantis’ war on ‘woke’ culture has only become more pronounced.

After a fumbled launch of his campaign on Twitter, the governor immediately began denouncing his rivals for supporting ‘woke’ LGBTQ+ rights.

During this time, the governor worked to make LGBTQ+ lives significantly harder by signing even more legislation that curtails the rights of the community.

The attack on queer Floridians has become so severe that several human rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, have urged LGBTQ+ Americans to stay away from the state.

A report published the same week as DeSantis’ campaign announcement warned travellers to the state to make a “clear safety plan” or reconsider travel entirely.

It also made a set of considerations if travel is unavoidable, including consulting an attorney to “assess the level of danger” in potentially being arrested.