Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday delivered the keynote address at the 2019 Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Las Vegas Dinner.

The 37-year-old Buttigieg told the audience that Democrats cannot win the White House by making the election about President Donald Trump.

“We're not going [to win] by out insulting Donald Trump,” Buttigieg said. “The truth is we're not going to knock him flat with some killer line on a debate stage, though believe me I've thought of plenty.”

“I'd be happy to debate faith. Happy to debate service. Pretty happy to debate marriage with this president.”

“But the truth is we cannot let this election be about the president. Because if Americans see us spending all of our time talking about him, they'll be left with this question: Who's talking about us?”

Buttigieg added that Democrats have allowed conservatives to “monopolize the language of freedom.”

“But we know that freedom isn't just about freedom from, it's about freedom to. Not just freedom from regulation but freedom to live a life of your choosing. And the reality is, you're not free if, for example, your reproductive health is subject to being dictated by a male boss or a politician. You're not free if you're are being prevented from organizing for a fair day's pay for a good day's work. And, of course, you are most certainly not free if a county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry based on their interpretation of their religion,” he said to applause.

In closing, Buttigieg, who last year married his husband Chasten, said his campaign was about hope.

“The struggle for freedom and fairness and a better life reaches far beyond our LGBTQ experience but our experience arms us with empathy and it fills us with the energy to get this done. In different ways every American struggles to experience truth and freedom. Every American needs real security. Every American depends on a vibrant democracy. And that's what this campaign is about. So, in a room like this, I see a chance for all of us to lift each other up; to show where our country can be and what our president can do. And I am filled even now with hope,” he said, adding that five years ago his marriage could not have existed.