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Pete Buttigieg told "Axios on HBO" that "we've probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn't know which ones."

Why it matters: Buttigieg, who is rising in polls and would be the first openly gay nominee of either party, talks easily about his sexual orientation when asked. This comment is a new window into his thinking.

Transcript

"Axios on HBO:" "Republicans claimed that John Kerry was a traitor in Vietnam. That Barack Obama was a Muslim. If you were to win the nomination, they'll say you're too young, too liberal, too gay to be commander-in-chief. You are young. You are a liberal. You are gay. How will you respond?"

Pete Buttigieg: "I'll respond by explaining where I want to lead this country. People will elect the person who will make the best president. And we have had excellent presidents who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal. I would imagine we've probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn't know which ones."

"Axios on HBO:" "You believe that we've had a gay commander-in-chief?"

Pete Buttigieg: "I mean, statistically, it's almost certain."

"Axios on HBO:" "In your reading of history, do you believe you know who they were?"

Pete Buttigieg: "My gaydar even doesn't work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that's the case."

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Go deeper

A pandemic victim: Ethical supply chains

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Over the last decade, global companies have put in place elaborate policies to ensure their suppliers protect worker safety and human rights. They're struggling to comply with those policies in the pandemic.

Driving the news: COVID-era disruptions have caused a spike in noncompliance with health and safety rules, according to new data from Qima, which audits supply chains.

Public schools staffing is on the brink of collapse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The public school system is hanging by a thread as staff are stressed, burned out and thinking of quitting more than ever before.

Why it matters: Staffing shortages are leading school districts to look for "bodies in a room to babysit kids" as last-ditch efforts to keep their doors open, one education researcher told Axios.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Tipping has soared during the pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

From restaurants to ride-sharing, Americans are tipping a lot more than they did before the pandemic.

Why it matters: The past two years have upended the way we express appreciation to the people who provide us food and services.