Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, seems pretty sure that Vice President Mike Pence has a “problem” with him being gay.
Buttigieg and Pence shared a political relationship in Indiana for four years, with Buttigieg serving as the mayor of South Bend since 2012 and Pence serving as the governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017. Buttigieg, who came out as gay in 2015, never publicly expressed any concerns with how Pence treated him until he started running for president.
Pence is an evangelical Christian and thus does not support same-sex marriage, but there is no evidence he has ever discriminated against gay people. Nonetheless, political opponents have portrayed Pence as an anti-gay bigot eager to harm or destroy anyone whose lifestyle he does not support. (RELATED: Stop Calling Mike Pence Homophobic)
If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore. http://t.co/QCAPBfnJzL
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 30, 2015
Buttigieg has played into this narrative during his presidential campaign, blindly asserting that Pence has a vendetta against him because he is gay.
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said Sunday at an LGBT event. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Buttigieg similarly told BuzzFeed News in March that “it chills a lot of us, especially in the LGBTQ community, to see that somebody like that can be in that kind of position of power,” adding on The Daily Show that Pence is a “nice guy” but his views are “fanatical.”
People close to Pence have expressed dismay over Buttigieg’s repeated attacks on Pence, especially considering the two men shared a cordial, even friendly, relationship in Indiana.
In 2014, for example, Pence called Buttigieg on the day of his deployment to Afghanistan — USA Today described Pence as “noticeably moved” during the call.
Pence responded with support in 2015 when he heard Buttigieg had come out as gay, asserting, “I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot.”
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who is openly gay, tweeted his support of Pence in March.
“For those of us in the LGBT community who deal in facts, we are chilled by recklessly repeated gossip,” Grenell wrote. “Mike Pence is a humble Christian who loves God, and all His creation.”
For those of us in the LGBT community who deal in facts, we are chilled by recklessly repeated gossip. Mike Pence is a humble Christian who loves God, and all His creation. I know him. You obviously don’t. https://t.co/5OQzWEWCfP
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 13, 2019
Cynthia Nixon, a “Sex and the City” star and former candidate for New York’s governor, recently attacked Pence for his views on same-sex marriage as well. Nixon went after Pence in a Washington Post op-ed that required numerous corrections for misinformation. (RELATED: Washington Post Corrects Cynthia Nixon’s Hit Piece On Mike Pence)
Nixon inaccurately claimed, among other things, that Pence supports conversion therapy for gay people and that he urged businesses not to hire gay people.