- Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 presidential candidate, has repeatedly criticized Vice President Mike Pence on the campaign trail.
- Buttigieg, who knew Pence personally while the VP was governor of Indiana, has focused on Pence’s record on LGBTQ rights and the evangelical Christian’s support for the “porn star presidency.”
- Pence has stayed silent amid the attacks, but his spokeswoman finally responded to them on Tuesday, pointing to Pence’s praise of the mayor in 2015.
Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 presidential candidate, hasn’t been eager to attack President Donald Trump, with whom he hopes to face off in a general election next year.
But he’s repeatedly laid into Vice President Mike Pence, who Buttigieg worked with while Pence was the governor of Indiana. Buttigieg has described Pence as a “nice guy” with “fanatical” political views, pointing specifically to Pence’s record on LGBTQ rights.
And he argues that its hypocritical for Pence to champion a president who embodies what the mayor the “diametric opposite” of Christian values, which call for aiding the poor and immigrants, and humbling oneself before others.
“How could Pence allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency?” Buttigieg said at a March CNN town hall after being asked about Pence. “Is it that he stopped believing in scripture, when he started believing in Donald Trump?”
An evangelical Christian, Pence has long opposed same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ individuals, and has argued that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service.”
Buttigieg is both openly gay and a Navy veteran.
“What [Pence] doesn’t realize is that his quarrel is with my creator. My marriage has moved me closer to God and I wish he respected that,” Buttigieg said last weekend, referring to his marriage to his husband Chasten Glezman.
On Tuesday, Pence’s spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah, finally responded to the attacks, pointing to a 2015 comment Pence made about Buttigieg after the mayor came out as gay.
“Since some are asking: the last time we recall Pence even mentioned @PeteButtigieg was in 2015, after news that Pete came out, Pence said: ‘I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot,'” Farah tweeted, along with a 2015 news story.
Buttigieg responded to Farah’s message on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
“People will often be polite to you in person, while advancing policies that harm you and your family. You will be polite to them in turn, but you need not stand for such harms,” Buttigieg wrote. “Instead, you push back, honestly and emphatically. So it goes, in the public square.”
Buttigieg, an Episcopalian Christian, has questioned both Pence and Trump’s interpretation of Christianity, and said he doubts Trump’s belief in God.
On Sunday, Buttigieg broadly condemned what he called the “hypocrisy” of evangelicals and other Christians who support Trump.