Speaking with the Washington Post for an article that was published Monday, Newark Mayor (and, barring a shocking upset, soon-to-be New Jersey Senator) Cory Booker addressed long swirling rumors that he is gay by saying “so what does it matter if I am?”
That somewhat ambiguous line generated a smattering of coverage across the Internet, and eventually landed itself on the Drudge Report yesterday. A few of those headlines tended to be slightly more suggestive than they probably should have been given a close reading of Booker’s entire quote makes it sound as though he’s much more interested in challenging conventions than speaking about his love life. Here’s the full quote, which came in response to a question about keeping his dating life private:
“Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet?” he says. “And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’ ”
Nonetheless, those comments seems to have left Republican Steve Lonegan, who is hoping to beat Booker in this fall’s special election, a little uncomfortable. Here was Lonegan’s cringe-worthy response when asked to comment by Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg:
“It’s kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don’t know if you saw the stories last year. They’ve been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure.”
Lonegan, who began his answer by admitting that he hadn’t seen the actual article in question, pressed on nonetheless. After saying that he “couldn’t say” whether Booker was “acting ambiguous” to win over gay voters, Lonegan made it pretty clear what type of voter he was trying to attract: “I don’t like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of the day, for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his peculiar fetish. I have a more peculiar fetish. I like a good Scotch and a cigar. That’s my fetish but we’ll just compare the two.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post mispelled Cory Booker’s first name.
This post has been updated.