South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg isn’t exactly sure what caused a dark smudge on his forehead during CNN’s Democratic Party primary debate on Tuesday, but he thinks he has an idea.
The 37-year-old mayor, who is the youngest candidate in the 2020 race for the White House, said on an appearance on CNN’s New Day on Wednesday that he thinks the smudge could have been the remains of a gnat that he killed on stage during the Detroit debate.
“Alright, so our best guess is that it — there were these little, kind of gnats around. Maybe I smushed one and it got on my forehead. I don’t know. I didn’t know about it until after. That’s the thing about having something on your forehead,” Buttigieg said when asked about the mystery mark by CNN host Alisyn Camerota.
Users on social media had wondered what was going on with the new mark on the Indiana mayor’s head.
The Washington Post reporter Jon Hudson shared video of his television screen on Twitter and asked his followers what the “thing” on Buttigieg’s forehead could be.
Another user on Twitter wondered if people were just going to ignore the foreign object on the mayor’s head that disappeared about halfway during the debate.
Even still, some weren’t buying Buttigieg’s explanation about the mark on his forehead. Chris Rovzar of Bloomberg tweeted that he believed the presidential candidate was lying about a having a pimple on his forehead, joking that it made the candidate more “relatable.”
Over-achiever Pete Buttegieg developing a forehead pimple right before a major public event – and then making up a weird lie about it – is the most relatable he has ever been to me. https://t.co/yaD1Gp9BEG
— Chris Rovzar (@Rovzar) July 31, 2019
Buttigieg wasn’t the only candidate on stage to have social media buzzing during the Tuesday debate. Social media wondered why Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan didn’t place his hand over his heart when the national anthem was played.
“Put your hand over your heart for the star spangled banner Tim Ryan!!! #DemocraticDebate,” Meghan McCain, daughter to late Sen. John McCain and cohost of ABC’s The View,tweeted Tuesday.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 31, 2019
In a statement Wednesday, Ryan attributed the action (or inaction) to “absentmindedness,” and said the action was not an intentional act of protest, as some speculated, per WGAU.
As Vox noted, Buttigieg had a notable moment that didn’t involve the forehead smudge during the CNN’s debate in Detroit. Buttigieg explained that issues being discussed on the stage were moot without larger structural reforms that needed to occur first, which Buttigieg said included ending the Electoral College, ending Citizens United, granting Washington, D.C. statehood and reforming the Supreme Court to make it less political.