President Trump has mocked one of his Democratic presidential candidate rivals, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, by comparing him to the MAD Magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman, which led to an episode in which the 37-year-old Buttigieg made it clear that he wasn't familiar with MAD or Neuman.
In a new Fox News interview, set for broadcast this weekend, Trump was nicer to the Democratic politician, even if he did make fun of his name in the process.
In an interview with Fox host Steve Hilton, a clip of which was released on Twitter on Thursday, the president said he has "no problem" with Buttigieg being openly gay, or appearing on stage at rallies with his husband, Chase.
"Putting aside policy disagreements, don't you think it's just great to see the fact that you've got a guy there on the stage with his husband, and it's normal?" Hilton asked.
"I think it's absolutely fine, I do," Trump replied. He added that "perhaps some people will have a problem with it, I have no problem with it whatsoever."
However, prior to saying that, Trump appeared to mock the pronunciation of Buttigieg's name, laughing and gesturing off-camera as he said it.
Buttigieg will be appearing on Fox News for a town hall this weekend, joining fellow candidates Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar in agreeing to appear on the network that is considered right-leaning. This week, Elizabeth Warren openly declared that she would not be hosting any such town hall on Fox.Trump's record on LGBTQ rights is considered mixed. During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016, Trump vowed to protect LGBTQ citizens from "violence and oppression," per CNN. While Trump has often insulted his opponents viciously on Twitter and in person, he has avoided using anti-gay slurs.
As president, Trump has sought to ban transgender people from the military, while also nominating various judges with histories of opposition to LGBTQ rights.
Buttigieg, a former naval intelligence officer who came out as gay in 2015 after he was elected mayor of South Bend, is the first openly gay candidate to seriously challenge for a party's presidential nomination in the United States. He has occasionally been heckled on the campaign trail by anti-gay hecklers, including at an event earlier this month in Texas, per ABC News. After that incident, Buttigieg was defended by rival candidate Beto O'Rourke, who is from Texas.