Chasten Buttigieg, husband to US transport secretary Pete Buttigieg, shared a photograph of the pair kissing in an apparent reference to the late Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh, a right-wing, anti-gay radio provocateur and pundit, passed away from complications of lung cancer, his wife Kathryn announced Wednesday (17 February).
In the year before his death, 2020, Limbaugh waged a campaign against Pete Buttigieg – or as he called him, “booty judge”.
In one of his many bizarre rants, Limbaugh claimed that Buttigieg kissing his husband Chasten would cause “problems” for parents, and reviled him for kissing his husband “frequently”.
Mere moments after the news of Limbaugh’s passing, Chasten Buttigieg sent out a wordless but defiant tweet – a photograph of the couple kissing.
The snap was taken after the now transport secretary delivered a moving keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Las Vegas Gala in 2019.
It was a moment of reflection for the politician, who both addressed his own privilege and his sincere shock at how much his presidential bid resonated with Americans.
But for slavish Donald Trump supporter Limbaugh, the mere concept of a gay president was impossible to comprehend. So he did what he did best: Mock and divide.
“Okay, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband onstage next to Mr Man Donald Trump?” Limbaugh told his millions of devoted listeners.
“What’s going to happen there?
“They’ve got to be saying that despite all the great progress and despite all the great wokeness, and despite all the great ground that’s been covered, America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president.”
Pete Buttigieg, used to fending off bigots, dealt his own broadside back at Limbaugh.
“Well, I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband,” Buttigieg said at the time.
“Onstage, we usually just go for a hug, but I love him very much. And I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.”
Limbaugh was married four times, three of which ended in divorce.
Chasten Buttigieg, meanwhile, simply shrugged off the shock jock’s barbs. “I dealt with a multitude of Rush Limbaughs when I was walking through the hallways of my high school,” he said.
Berating the Buttigiegs was one example of Limbaugh’s homophobia.
In 1990, as thousands of queer Americans died of AIDS, Limbaugh celebrated their deaths to the tune of fanfare and disco music.