June 20th, 2014
07:26 AM ET
6 months ago

Brian Schweitzer apologizes for 'gaydar' comments about Eric Cantor

Updated 6:25 p.m. ET 6/19/2014

(CNN) –Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer apologized for making some controversial comments about outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Sen. Dianne Feinstein that sparked outrage.

"I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard," the possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said Thursday on his Facebook page.

In the National Journal piece, Schweitzer shared his perceptions on Cantor's sexuality while discussing the Virginia Republican's shocking loss last week against an unknown primary candidate.

“If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent,” Schweitzer said in the interview.

“Don't hold this against me, but I'm going to blurt it out. How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he said. "They just have effeminate mannerisms.”

Cantor, who represents central Virginia and is outgoing House Majority Leader, has been married to his wife for 25 years and has three children.

Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said his comments were "out of line," an expected response from the party interested in defending its members. But members of the GOP have also taken heat for comments made about gays and lesbians, including Texas Governor Rick Perry who recently compared being gay to alcoholism, and the Texas Republican Party endorsed conversion therapy.

The Democratic National Committee was also critical.  Spokesman Michael Czin said his comments regarding Cantor are "disappointing especially given his stated support of marriage equality."

Also in the interview, Schweitzer compares fellow Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator from California who chairs the Intelligence Committee, to a prostitute.

"She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees," he said about Feinstein’s position on intelligence gathering. “And now she says, 'I'm a nun,' when it comes to this spying. I mean, maybe that's the wrong metaphor — but she was all in!"

Democratic strategist Ben LaBolt, who was also President Barack Obama's national press secretary for his 2012 re-election campaign, said Schweitzer's comments will have consequences, “largely disqualifying” him from presidential run.

"This time the loose cannon was aimed back at the ship," he said.

Schweitzer has proven to be an outspoken and sometimes random pundit since he was unable to run for a third gubernatorial term in 2012 because of term limits. Since then he has publicly pondered a presidential run, even traveling to the critical early caucus state of Iowa in December, where he promoted his opposition to the war in Iraq.

Presumed presidential opponent Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War and the issue dogged her campaign in 2008. He is one of the few Democrats critiquing Clinton's record.

A populist espousing many liberal positions but who won statewide office twice in the red state, Schweitzer also attended former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s ideas summit in Salt Lake City last week. He offered “perspective from the Democratic side,” Spencer Zwick, Romney's former campaign finance chairman said.


Filed under: Brian Schweitzer • Dianne Feinstein • Eric Cantor
soundoff (406 Responses)
  1. just asking

    why isn't this guy being crucified by the pc crucifixtion gang of lefties? oh yeah, he's one of the pc crucifixtion gang of lefties. they can do or say anything and get away with it. welcome to the mass intimidation of the left on the rest of the population. conform to their stansards or be attacked, unless you are already one of the club.

    June 20, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Malory Archer

    So he said something that offends some people. Who cares? Is this guy only allowed to have his own point of view if it's approved by the reds? It's amazing how completely intolerant the people who shout the loudest for for the end of "political correctness" have become.

    June 20, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    just asking says:
    June 20, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm
    why isn’t this guy being crucified by the pc crucifixtion gang of lefties? oh yeah, he’s one of the pc crucifixtion gang of lefties. they can do or say anything and get away with it. welcome to the mass intimidation of the left on the rest of the population. conform to their stansards or be attacked, unless you are already one of the club.

    If you could actually read and not just look for pictures, you would see many of "the gang" have made comments admonishing this idiot.
    Next.

    June 20, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    Stupid remark also. He's also from that Wild West of the US.

    June 20, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. tess48degreesnorth

    I'm from Montana & I think it was a crude stupid remark which was pointless. Is this what we have in store for 2016? Lord help us.

    June 20, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  6. Terry McCabe

    As a gay man and a lifelong democrat.... this is beyond offensive... go back to Montana or wherever he us from and crawl back under the rock from where he came!

    June 21, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
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