Pete Buttigieg addressed a 9-year-old boy during his Saturday rally, and the content of the discussion was shocking to many.
Identified as Zachary Ro, the young boy submitted a fishbowl question to the Democratic presidential candidate asking if the young former mayor would help him announce to the world that he identifies as homosexual. He was with his parents, who are likely supporters of the aspiring POTUS.
CNN detailed the “emotional moment” between Buttigieg and the youth in an article detailing all of the “advice” Pete gave.
“Thank you for being so brave,” the young boy wrote. “Would you help me tell the world I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you.”
Despite what the kid may think of himself, the openly-gay candidate let the boy know that he was actually pretty brave for asking the question in the first place. Especially in such a public forum.
“I don’t think you need a lot of advice for me on bravery. You seem pretty strong to me,” he responded. “It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone to go out there and tell the world and to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of 1,000 people, thousands of people you’ve never met that’s, that’s really something.”
But in the interest of drawing the event out for as long as possible, perhaps for the desperately needed dosage of good PR it would bring him, Pete did hand down “a couple of things that might be useful.”
“The first thing is that it won’t always be easy, but that’s okay because you know who you are,” he noted. “And that’s really important because when you know who you are, you have a center of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you.”
Buttigieg told the kid to be mindful of “who’s taking their lead from you, who’s watching you and deciding that they can be a little braver because you have been brave,” in a move that seems to encourage the young boy to become some sort of gay role model, though it is unclear whether this was the intended message of his words.
“When I was trying to figure out who I was, I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference,” the Democrat recalled. “And what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make. I never could have seen that coming, and you’ll never know whose life you might be affecting right now, just by standing here. There’s a lot of power in that.”
While at the event, Zachary joined Pete on stage, as well as his husband Chasten, who then walked the lad back to his parents after gifting him a “challenge coin” featuring the “code of conduct” that all of his supporters and staff members are to abide by.
“I think you’ve already got it together, so I’m excited to see what you’re going to do as a leader,” he told the kid. “Just promise me you won’t run for president until after I’m done because I think you might be strong competition.”
CNN’s tweet of the event sparked the kind of backlash you’d probably expect, with a common theme being that this was probably a publicity stunt of some type.
Smh… a child should stay in a child’s place.
— Pat… (@pat_2018_) February 23, 2020
This is Unacceptable !!
Society should NOT allow little kids to just change who they are naturally
— Francis Aboagye (@KwekuAboagye) February 23, 2020
9 years old? Really? Children choosing their sexuality at that age?
This was not on my radar at 9 years old?
— ARi (@ARiamm0) February 23, 2020
Children are easily confused and influenced. He should receive counseling. CNN finds this news worthy. Disgraceful!
— NedinDalton (@NedinDalton) February 23, 2020
There’s no 9yr old that knows their sexuality. So either the parents hoping for their 15mins of Fame wrote it, or it’s just more fake news.
— Dr. Tandrie (@TNatereli) February 23, 2020
I really feel this boys parents put him up to that which is really sad. He really should be asking his parents that question. Parents are suppose to guide there children notca total stranger. Love you Pete?
— Shanda Lee (@ShandaLee8) February 23, 2020
Nine. Seriously? What adult set this up as a publicity stunt? Are their names mom and dad?
— vancouverphil (@vancouverphil1) February 23, 2020
This was totally NOT at all PLANNED and scripted to fit a desired narrative for political purposes…no… it was fer-reals ..yeah.. right..smh
— James Q Patriot (@JamesQPatriot1) February 23, 2020
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