New & now
Go Mayor Pete! Maltese-American Presidential hopeful appears on The Ellen DeGeneres show
"I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people."

Vanessa Conneely

Many Americans are trying to get their tongues around how to pronounce the Maltese surname Buttigieg today. Among them is talk-show host Ellen Degeneres, who interviewed Mayor Pete Buttigieg on her programme.

“Is it Boot-ta-geg?” she asked after introducing him to her audience of millions. “Is there an emphasis on Butt or igieg?” she asked. Ellen clearly hasn't seen this video.

 

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Maltese connections

Buttigieg is the son of Maltese immigrant Professor Joseph A. Buttigieg, who was born in Hamrun and attended the University of Malta, before moving to the States to lecture. He died in January of this year, missing his sons’ public announcement to run for US President by just a few months.

On The Ellen Degeneres Show, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana says he wants to make America a more inclusive place. Buttigieg is the only openly gay candidate running for the White House and married his partner Chasten as soon as it became legal. He also reiterated comments he made about Vice President Mike Pence.

“I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people, especially in the LGBTQ community. Too many people, even today, feel like they don’t belong. You can get fired, in some parts of this country just for being who you are and that’s got to change. I’m not interested in feuding with the VP but if he wanted to clear this up, he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are.”

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Close to God  

Buttigieg, who regularly discusses his faith, was baptised and raised Catholic but is now an Episcopalian. It's not clear when he converted, but the Episcopalian Church does welcome LGBT members.  

He told Ellen: “I think it’s important for anyone who steps into a political process to speak for people of any faith and people of no faith. So, when I talk about my faith it’s not to impose it on others. It guides me. When I’m in Church, the scripture I hear is about taking care of the least among us and lifting up those who are most vulnerable, such as visiting the prisoner and taking care of the sick as well as welcoming the stranger.  It’s a message that is fundamentally about love and humility. Humbling yourself before God and putting other people before you. That doesn’t have to be anyone else's understanding of religion, but its where Christianity takes me and that does have implications for how I behave in the political space.”

Vote for women

Continuing his message of inclusivity, Democrat Buttigieg told Ellen he would also be happy to see a woman in the White House.

“I’m disappointed that a woman didn’t get into the White House in 2016. You have to vote for the person that best speaks to your values and is best able to lead the country, and you may decide that is me, or you may decide that is someone else. What I will say is that it is more important than ever in politics to have gender diversity and gender balance. The next President is going to have to make sure that the next Administration - at the most senior level - has gender balance, especially if the next President ends up being male.” 

We’ll be watching you closely Mr Buttigieg!


Vanessa Conneely
Written by
Vanessa Conneely
Vanessa is an Irish writer whose travel lust has led her to Malta. She loves running, reading and finding new restaurants, as well as trawling Malta for vintage furniture and home décor.

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