At a forum hosted by The Washington Post, presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, insisted the United States was “absolutely” ready for a gay president.

The 37-year-old Buttigieg has risen dramatically in recent polls in early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

Friday's candidate forum was hosted by national politics reporter Robert Costa.

Buttigieg pointed out that he was reelected mayor in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote shortly after he came out gay.

“Mike Pence was the governor of Indiana, no mayor of Indiana had ever come out, and so there was no way really to know what to expect,” said Buttigieg, who has previously criticized Pence's opposition to LGBT rights.

When Costa noted that South Bend is a small, heavily Democratic city, Buttigieg countered: “If it can happen in Mike Pence's Indiana, it can happen anywhere in this nation.”

Buttigieg also said that he was “bothered” that President Donald Trump during a recent rally said that he dreams of him.

“I will admit that it did bother me when he said that he dreams about me,” Buttigieg said to chuckles. “I don't know what exactly goes on, but I am certain that I want absolutely nothing to do with them.”