Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, shared a picture of the couple kissing on Wednesday in an apparent reference to the death of far-right radio host Rush Limbaugh, who had made homophobic comments about the couple last year.
During the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, Limbaugh, who has a well-documented history of attacking LGBTQ people, took a homophobic swipe at then-candidate Buttigieg after kissing his husband Chasten on camera when he announced his 2020 presidential campaign.
“Okay, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband onstage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?’” he said of Buttigieg.
He told his millions of loyal listeners: “They’ve got to be saying that despite all the great progress and despite all the great wokeness, and despite all the great ground that’s been covered, America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president.”
Limbaugh had added that his friend Donald Trump would “have fun” facing off against a candidate who “kissed his husband on the debate stage.”
Shortly after Limbaugh’s death was announced on his radio program, Chasten posted a nice picture of him kissing his husband to Twitter with no comment.
— Chasten Glezman Buttigieg (@Chasten) February 17, 2021
Many Twitter users understood the well-timed reference.
I think the kids call this subtweeting
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) February 17, 2021
You say more with one well-timed photograph than most people do with a paragraph. I married my soulmate, and it’s clear you did too. Your love is inspiring and hopeful. My best to you both as you wait out the quarantine. ❤️
— Paula ❤️ #SecretaryMayorPete 🐝 🍷🚂🛤🚗🛩 (@paularadell) February 17, 2021
As conservative fans mourned the death of the far-right radio host, many on social media pointed to Limbaugh’s history of making sexist, homophobic, and bigoted remarks.
Author Jessica Valenti, for example, posted a message on Twitter stating that Limbaugh once had a segment on his show called “AIDS Update” where he would celebrate the AIDS-related deaths of gay and bi men.
“Rush Limbaugh had a segment called ‘AIDS update’ set to music where he mocked dying gay people so I don’t really want hear about ‘speaking ill of the dead’ today,” Valenti tweeted.
Snopes.com confirmed the authenticity of the claims, noting that while they could not uncover any audio of these segments, they did find a few contemporaneous news articles and comments from Limbaugh confirming the contents of these controversial segments.
Iowa’s Cedar Gazette reported in 1990 that Limbaugh’s “AIDS Update,” a recurring segment in which he made jokes about a disease that had killed more than 100,000 people in the United States the previous decade, started by playing songs such as “Back in the Saddle Again,” “Kiss Him Goodbye,” “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again,” and “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.”