Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney can't confirm Pete Buttigieg's theory that the U.S. has already had a gay president -- because who the hell knows -- but he's got no problem with historians doing some digging.
The openly gay representative from NY tells TMZ it's impossible to know for sure if a past Prez was gay, but, like Buttigieg ... he says there's no doubt people have publicly served -- both in politics and the military -- while remaining in the closet, for various reasons.
As for whether it's right to out these historical figures ... Maloney's got no qualms about it. He says it's not really outing if the person's been deceased for a long time, and it's "completely fair game" to look into a person's sexual orientation for the purpose of better understanding.
He emphasizes this is for the sake of historical context and learning as much as possible about important people ... and compares it to studying up on Thomas Jefferson's relationship with slavery.
It's an interesting comparison, and SPM explains it better than we can ... check out the clip.
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BTW -- Buttigieg's comments about a possible gay president have sparked interest in who is most likely, with Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan being the frontrunners. Scholars widely disagree on Lincoln ... but there are signs that lifelong bachelor Buchanan was truly the first gay president.