After news broke that he was dropping out of the race, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg took to a South Bend, Indiana stage to discuss his decision to suspend his historic campaign. For the speech, he was introduced by his husband Chasten Buttigieg who gave a heartfelt speech of his own.
“About a year and a half ago, ” Chasten said. “my husband came home from work and and told me — well really he asked me, — ‘What do you think about running for President?’ And I laughed. Not at him, but at life. Because life gave me some interesting experiences on my way to finding Pete. After falling in love with Pete, he got me to believe in myself again.”
“I told Pete to run because I knew there were other kids sitting out there in this country who needed to believe in themselves too,” he continued.
“This campaign was built on an idea of hope. An idea of inclusion,” he said. “An idea of addition rather than subtraction. About bringing people together. About looking your neighbor in the eye and saying ‘Maybe we don’t agree on everything but let’s agree on this.’
Chasten went on to finish the speech: “It has been an honor and a privilege to share my husband with the rest of this country … and I am so proud that the same person you saw on the debate stage, and the same person you saw at a town hall, is the same person who comes home to me every night.
“It’s an honor to come home and bring home the person I love so dearly, so please help me welcome to the stage, my dear husband … the man I love so much, ‘Mayor Pete’ Buttigieg.”
Pete, the “middle class, millennial mayor from the industrial Midwest” gave a similarly heartfelt speech, starting off with why he got into the race in the first place. “In the last few years, America has faced enormous challenges, from an economy in transition to a climate on the brink to a president sewing chaos and discord across the very country he is responsible for uniting,” he said. “And for many Americans, these challenges have amounted to a call to action. So like so many others, I thought deeply about what I could do to make a difference, what I could do to make myself useful and it was with that spirit, with your help, that a year ago we launched our campaign for the American presidency.”
“By every conventional wisdom and by every historical measure, we were never supposed to get anywhere at all,” he continued. “And then, as I said on that roller coaster February night a few weeks ago when Iowa shocked the nation, along that way an improbable hope became an undeniable reality. In a field in which more than two dozen democratic candidates ran for president — senators and governors, billionaires, a former Vice President — we achieved a top four finish in each of the first four states to hold a nominating contest and we made history winning those Iowa caucuses.”
While Buttigieg was not the first openly gay presidential candidate, he was the first considered to have launched a “serious” bid, which was cemented by his win in Iowa.
“We sent a message to every kid out there, wondering if whatever marks them out as different, means that they are somehow destined to be less than,” he continued “To see that someone who once felt that exact same way, can become a leading presidential candidate with his husband at his side.”
“Today is a moment of truth: after a year of going everywhere, meeting everyone, defying every expectation, seeking every vote, the truth is that the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy, if not for our cause,” he said. “And another one of those values is responsibility, and we have a responsibility to consider the effect of remaining in this race any further. Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values. And so we must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideas is to step aside and help bring our party and our country together. So tonight I am making the difficult decision to suspend my 2020 campaign for the presidency. I will no longer seek to be the 2020 nominee for president but, I will do everything in my power to ensure that we have a new Democratic president come January.”