June 20th, 2014
07:26 AM ET
8 years 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.

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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. Matt Amity

    So what? He said someone seems gay. Big deal. He said being gay is not wrong or bad; it's Eric Cantor who thinks gay marriage shouldn't be allowed. Quite frankly I see no big deal here, and I am gay.

    This guy called a spade a spade– Eric Cantor DOES SEEM GAY.

    June 19, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. dywlf

    You act like what Schweitzer said was a bad thing?

    June 19, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Southern Sky

    Come down South Yankee Boy and find out how effeminate Southern men are.

    June 19, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. sammy750

    He and others could be bi, enjoying the company of both men and women. It amazing how many men are curious about other men or even other women.

    June 19, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. JBullets

    I know what he means about effeminate southern men. He's not talking about the typical redneck stereotype, but the mannerisms of the "southern gentleman". To this yankee transplant to the South it has definitely thrown off my gaydar. I spent my first year here thinking everyone was a closet Queen before I realized that they just walk and talk a little different down here. 🙂

    June 19, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Searcher1

    Well, this guy is a Loose cannon. Someone needs t reign him in if he wants to go further....

    June 19, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Sure you are

    I'd say it's just the Eastern Southern guys that are more fem. It's true, they do sound a little gay. It's cool, I'm cool with them liking a little wang on the side. Whatever floats your boat, y'all.

    June 19, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Peter, Bend OR

    How do people like this get into positions of power? Just say no to this candidate. Next.

    June 19, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. twalk

    How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he said. "They just have effeminate mannerisms.”

    U can tell the guy is a northern by that comment. This guy is really a republican in true by making comments like that.

    June 19, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Jeff6187

    That's really an unhelpful thing to say. It simply inflames, it adds nothing to a conversation in dire need of wisdom and facts, and makes the whole discussion look petty, like back in grade school.

    June 19, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. Marshal Reinhart

    This is hilarious. If your Gaydar is only 60%, thats only a smidgeon better than blindly guessing lol

    June 19, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Kubi

    What if I told you in America that people still old unpopular opinions. Stop trying to point fingers for a internet lynch mob because he said something anti-gay.

    June 19, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. SFSolstice

    I think this guys powder is all wet. It sounds like he is trying to come out himself. As for his comments on my Senator Mrs. Feinstein I think he is beyond a loose cannon and owes this distinguished public servant an apology. As for his political career – let him keep his powder dry up there in Montana where he claims they are not effeminate, but he has assured the rest of the country that they sure aren't gentlemen either. A loose cannon with wet powder! Now that's a Montana Mess!

    June 19, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  14. CJ

    Some southern men are effeminate, some are not. Some men from the northeast are effeminate, some are not. Some men who are gay are effeminate, some are not. Some men from Montana are effeminate, some are not. If a politician doesn't have either the world experience or the common sense to realize that all kinds of people live in every region of the country, they really don't have what is needed for national office.

    Besides, what business is it of his to comment on such a personal matter anyway . . . sheesh.

    June 19, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. Uncle Sam

    How do these clowns get elected. What does this have to do with anything?

    June 19, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. Joe

    Schweitzer's presidential bid isn't over, yet. He probably won't win the nomination or be picked as VP.

    June 19, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. Vox Axiom

    There are moments when one should be silent, this was one of those. There are times when it is better to be discrete than to be bold.

    If you keep your mouth shut your foot won't find a way in!

    June 19, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. joe

    Felonies all over the IRS. Direct tie in to the White House and CNN – not a word. Communist News Network (Deep voice) "This is CNN"

    June 19, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. hahahahaha

    lmao gaydar this guy is great

    June 19, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. miguel

    If Cantor sets of his gaydar wait until he sees the California Democratic Caucus! Ha!Ha!Ha!

    June 19, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. capiers

    The fact that he claims to have gaydar and felt is necessary to say that about Cantor shows he has an issue with Gays. He only said it because he knows how it affects some people on the right. This guy is a joke.

    June 19, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Andrew

    If Schweitzer were a Republican, he'd have to leave public life after these comments.

    June 19, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. Guest

    Wait..so you're telling me Democrats are also capable of saying ignorant and insensitive things? That's weird.

    June 19, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. jim

    I don't understand what gays want, they raise hexx trying to be recognized as gay but when somebody does recognize a person as gay they raise hexx too? I don't really think they have any idea what they want?

    June 19, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Lynne Buchanan

    Let's just allow him to be who he is. Then everyone will know not to vote for him. Why suggest he be reigned in?

    June 19, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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