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. Budgie Girl

    My gaydar goes off about 90-100% for Lindsey Graham.

    June 19, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Norgi

    I certainly hope this guy goes far in the Primary,it will be great fun on the Daily Show

    June 19, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Yakobi

    "he was unable to run for a third gubernatorial term in 2012 because of term limits."
    We need term limits for Congress!!!

    June 19, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Truth

    This is something people say all the time but unfortunatey are not permitted publicly. Who hasn't used the term "gaydar"? Why is this an issue?

    June 19, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Michael

    Is this guy for real? The problems in this country and this is all this moron has to say. Unreal!

    June 19, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. grado

    Only gay men have gaydar. Is Schweitzer coming out? Or, considering Rick Perry's insight, is he just alcoholic?

    June 19, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. sbeerzy

    lindsey graham anyone? gaydar off the charts

    June 19, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. cbp

    Governor Schweitzer needs to back away form any further state or national office. JHis statements were way out of line and he knows. if he did this to get his name out there he has succeeded. Unfortunately it is not a positive image that he portrays.

    Why in the world would he talk about Eric Canter and Diane Feinstein? It really is none of his business and it was in very poor taste. The Governor needs to return to Montana and get out of the limelight. I would hope that the good people of this nation will ignore this man and his views. This whole topic is shameful indeed.

    June 19, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. grado

    Jim hit it right on the button:


    If you read between the lines, I think he's actually anti Semitic

    June 19, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. ihbarddx

    He's wants us all to know that he can't play at the national level.

    June 19, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |

    Being a liberal Democrat Governor from a Republican state, I thought Schiwietzer was smarter than this. Cannot might be gay but what is the political upside for Brian in saying it?

    Hear me on this Govenor, don't blow a solid shot at being Hillary's VP . Being a "western" , white male, who might help her appeal in NM, AZ, CO, AT, NV, IN, MO would make him value-added. Being toxic Will not.

    June 19, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Robert

    I'm not a Republican and have no great fondness for them, but this guy's comments were beyond stupid! He deserves to be knocked out of the running for any office he seeks – he's too much of an idiot to serve the public. Oh, I take that back: perhaps he'd be good as a sever in a fast food joint – that's the level of education he seems to have.

    June 19, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Being a liberal Democrat Governor from a Republican state, I thought Schiwietzer was smarter than this. Cannot might be gay but what is the political upside for Brian in saying it?

    Read the entire article. He won't be Hillary's V.P. pick.

    June 19, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. sf

    speaking on behalf of my people...only WE have gaydars...so i guess this guy's gay?

    June 19, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Woody's Hay

    Stupid thing for him to say.

    June 19, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Texas Anne

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! I kept thinking Dick Cheney had to be hiding somewhere behind this guy.

    June 19, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Runtime Al

    Do these guys not understand the modern-day media? They will beat this drum every time this guy surfaces. He's done. You don't ever talk about such things in public. Not anymore. It's not 1950. At this point you have to question a person's intelligence, even more so their common sense. He just buried himself.

    June 19, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. asdrel

    Scott posts "Funny that CNN doesn't highlight the fact that this guy is a DEMOCRAT! Imagine the headlines if he was a Republican". Did you read the second paragraph? It specifically refers to this bozo as a Democrat. As someone who generally supports Democrats I wish he was a Republican; he's an embarrasment to any group he's in. With friends like him, who needs enemies?

    June 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. lloyd roberts

    I kinda feel like that too with Cantor. Still in the closet, Lindsey Graham is another cross dresser

    June 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Hambone

    My "Fat idiot-dar" goes off when I listen to this guy...

    June 19, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. SeattleReign

    WHY was this even necessary for him to say? It has absolutely nothing to do with how anybody in congress performs his or her job, unless they are secretly gay and yet vote anti gay on everything including marriage equality. I thought this guy was smarter than that. He just shot himself in the foot with a wound that will never heal. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Take your gardar and leave.

    June 19, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Chisox guy

    Like my late dad used to say-"son, better to remain silent and be thought a fool, then to speak and remove all doubt"

    June 19, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Megan

    @Budgie Girl - mine too!!! I have been claiming Lindsey Graham is absolutely, undenably gay. The reason I loathe him? He is unable to be true to himself, and to the American people. He hides behind politics as his wall of defense. I do not respect someone who can't be honest with themself about who they truly are.

    June 19, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. johnbiggscr

    Well this guy is an idiot, thats for sure. Disappointed that he is a dem.

    June 19, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. EG

    A clear indication that he, as many politicians, have the wrong idea what a public servants job should focus on. Unfortunately, people in this country continue to elect them to hold office...which explains why we are in the position we are in.

    June 19, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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