Warren’s Got Jokes and Cuomo Doesn’t: What You Missed from the Democrats’ LGBTQ Town Hall

Buttigieg talked about what it's like to run a blood drive when you're legally barred from donating blood. Biden talked about... bathhouses?
October 11, 2019, 1:58pm
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The 2020 Democrats had a few standout moments — good and bad — at the LGBTQ town hall co-hosted by CNN and the Human Rights Council on Thursday night.

Elizabeth Warren landed a viral joke. Pete Buttigieg gave a thoughtful answer about not being able to give blood as a gay man. Joe Biden did very Joe Biden-y things.

Here are the five key moments you should know about.

Warren’s got jokes

The Massachusetts senator likely secured the night’s most memorable moment with a perfectly-delivered joke.

Morgan Cox, chair of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors, asked her what she would say if an "old-fashioned" supporter told her they think marriage should only be between one man and one woman.

"Well, I'm going to assume it is a guy who said that," Warren said. "And I'm going to say, 'Well, then, just marry one woman. I'm cool with that.'"

Then she took a long pause and deadpanned, “Assuming you can find one.”

She walked away to roaring laughter and loud applause.

Biden talks about… bathhouses?

As the former vice president neared the end of his time on stage, he delivered an aside about hurtful stigmas gay men had to deal with in the recent past.

“It’s not strange. That’s the generic point,” Biden said to CNN moderator Anderson Cooper, who is gay. “And the more people know that, the more they understand it. Remember, Anderson, back 15, 20 years ago? We talked about this in San Francisco. It was all about, well, you know, gay bathhouses. It was all about round-the-clock sex. Come on, man. Gay couples are likely to stay together longer than heterosexual couples.”

At that point, Cooper cut in to end the conversation. “We’re going to leave it there, Mr. Vice President,” Cooper said.

Chris Cuomo makes an ill-advised pronoun joke

When California Sen. Kamala Harris took the stage at the town hall, she alerted Cuomo: “My pronouns are she, her, and hers."

The CNN host felt his was a good time to crack a joke.

"She, her, and hers? Mine, too,” he said.

He later apologized for mocking the practice of sharing one’s pronouns, which is a helpful way to respect people’s gender identities.

“When Sen. Harris said her pronouns were she her and her's [sic], I said mine, too,” Cuomo tweeted. “I should not have. I apologize. I am an ally of the LGBTQ community, and I am sorry because I am committed to helping us achieve equality.”

Mayor Pete talks blood donation

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, is the first gay man to mount a major presidential campaign. At the forum, he was asked about the Food and Drug Administration’s blood donation policy that forbids men who’ve had sex with a man in the last year from giving blood.

“In South Bend we run a Mayor’s Office blood drive, it’s one of the things that we’ve traditionally done. And I inherited it when I became mayor,” Buttigieg said. “And I remember the moment when I realized, unlike most initiatives that I spearhead, I can’t lead by example on this one because my blood’s not welcome in this country. And it’s not based on science; it’s based on prejudice.”

He added that as president, he’d have the FDA revise its rules “based on evidence, based on individual risk factors and without regard to the prejudice that has driven the current policy.”

Biden kinda, sorta mimes kissing Anderson Cooper

This is a convoluted one to explain, but: Biden embraced CNN’s Cooper, sidling up next to him, to mime President Barack Obama apparently kissing his vice president in 2012 to show his appreciation for his veep’s decision to publicly support marriage equality.

Biden was talking about a 2012 interview during which he expressed support for same-sex marriage, ahead of Obama doing the same. He said some folks were worried Obama would be upset that Biden had jumped the gun on the issue.

“I went in on Monday, and all the national press is saying Biden’s gonna really get nailed when he walks in and sees the president every morning. He got up, and he walked over to me. He said, ‘Well, you told me,’ and he gave me a kiss,” Biden said as he walked toward Cooper, seemingly intending to mime a kiss with the CNN host, but not actually doing so. “I swear to God.”

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during the Power of our Pride Town Hall Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The LGBTQ-focused town hall featured nine 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)