Democratic candidate for US president Pete Buttigieg won over a town hall hosted by conservative media Fox News on Sunday (19 May).
The gay presidential hopeful slammed current US president Donald Trump, two Fox News anchors, and recent anti-abortion legislation.
The audience gave the 37-year-old Mayor of South Bend a hearty applause on number of occasions.
Members of the Democratic Party had criticized Buttigieg for appearing on Fox News, but Buttigieg defended his position.
‘If we don’t show up, the conservative media will tell our side of the story for us’ he said.
President Trump had also criticized Fox News for hosting Buttigieg. He said the network was ‘wasting airtime’.
Hard to believe that @FoxNews is wasting airtime on Mayor Pete, as Chris Wallace likes to call him. Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems. They got dumped from the Democrats boring debates, and they just want in. They forgot the people…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Buttigieg hit back at a president known for anti-LGBTI policies.
‘The tweets are—I don’t care,’ he said to raucous applause.
He described the president’s Twitter as ‘mesmerizing’ and said it was ‘hard for anyone to look away’.
‘It is the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away’ he also said.
Abortion is a national right
Buttigieg said ‘abortion is a national right’ in response to a question on Alabama’s new stringent abortion law.
‘I trust women to draw the line,’ Buttigieg said.
‘That decision [to have an abortion] is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.’
Buttigieg also slammed two Fox News hosts, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, known for their conservative, anti-immigrant rhetoric.
‘There’s a reason anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem,’ Buttigieg said.
‘But I also believe that even though some of those hosts are not always there in good faith, I think a lot of people tune into this network who do it in good faith.’
Surge in popularity
Buttigieg announced that he would be running for president in January, and officially began his campaign in March.
Since then he has experienced a surge in popularly and has begun to regularly feature in the media.
Last month, he and his husband were on the cover of TIME magazine.
He has consistently polled at third place among the field of Democratic presidential candidates.
He is still trailing Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Biden, and Vermont Senator Sanders.
Fellow presidential hopeful Massachusetts Senator Warren has also been rising in the polls in recent weeks. A recent survey placed Warren ahead of Buttigieg.
A recent survey also found that 70% of voters would be willing to vote for a gay man for president. However, 53% also said that they did not think the US was currently ready for a gay president.