The former Democratic Governor of Montana has said that he often mistakes Southern men for gays, because they are both “a little effeminate”.

Brian Schweitzer was speaking to the National Journal about Republican Eric Cantor, who stepped down as House majority leader last week after being unseated by an unknown Tea Party activist in a primary.

He said: “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.

“They just have effeminate mannerisms. 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.

“But he’s not, I think, so I don’t know. Again, I couldn’t care less. I’m accepting.”

Eric Cantor is heterosexual, and married with three children.

Schwietzer has since posted an apology on Facebook, writing: “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.”

Democratic National Committee spokesperson Michael Czin said: “[Former] Governor Schweitzer’s comments are disappointing.

“However, if the [Republicans] want to have a debate over which party better respects women and the LGBT community, that’s a debate we’ll have any day of the week.”

Schweitzer, who currently works as a pundit for MSNBC has been tipped as a potential Democratic challenger in the 2016 Presidential elections.