Politics

Buttigieg Responds To Mike Pence: ‘I Would Love To See Him Evolve’

Phillip Stucky Contributor

2020 presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded to former Vice President Mike Pence in the latest round of an ongoing “feud” between the two Indiana politicians in a Tuesday episode of CNN’s “New Day.”

“The Vice President is entitled to his religious beliefs,” Buttigieg began.”My problem is when those religious beliefs are used as an excuse to harm other people. That was a huge issue for us in Indiana when he advanced a discriminatory bill in 2015 under the guise of religious freedom that said it was lawful to discriminate provided you invoke religion as your excuse, and I just believe that’s wrong.”

He continued:

This isn’t about him as a human being, this is about policies that hurt people, policies that hurt children — and to this day, if you listen closely to what he said, you’ll notice … he has not brought himself to say that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against people in this country because they’re LGBT. In most parts of this country, you can still be fired, denied housing, denied services, because of who you are. He seems to be ok with that.

“I would love to see him evolve on that issue,” the Democrat concluded. (RELATED: Pence Breaks Silence On Buttigieg’s Attack On His Faith)

The statements came after Pence discussed the “feud” with CNN’s Dana Bash Friday, and he offered the fact that they knew each other, and that the mayor understood that Pence didn’t harbor any negative feelings towards him.

“You know, I’ve known Mayor Pete for many years. We worked very closely together when I was governor, and I considered him a friend,” Pence stated. “He knows I don’t have a problem with him, I don’t believe in discrimination against anybody. I treat everybody the way that I want to be treated. I think Pete’s quarrel is with the First Amendment. All of us in this country have a right to their religious beliefs.”

In 2015, Pence responded to Buttigieg’s announcement of his sexuality with support, saying, “I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot.” (RELATED: Why Does Pete Buttigieg Think Mike Pence Has A ‘Problem’ With Being Gay?)

The Democrat recently surged in an Emerson Poll released Monday, where he earned 9% support from respondents, up from 0% in an Emerson poll taken in February.

Buttigieg’s sexuality has been a topic of hot debate for some, like whether or not he is “gay enough” to overcome his status as a white male in the 2020 Democratic primary, a claim that was widely discounted in a New York Times op-ed last Wednesday.

In the article titled “Mayor Pete Is Plenty Gay,” Columnist Frank Bruni concluded, “He sounds sufficiently gay to me. His powers of empathy seem plenty informed by his sexual orientation. And we need to stop making assumptions about how well someone can understand and address what minorities go through based on his or her looks.”

The mayor also emerged as a Christian foil to the Trump administration, taking turns to criticize President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their actions, despite having a scandal-free political relationship with Pence for four years when Pence served at the governor of Indiana from 2013–2017. He called evangelical Christians who support the president hypocrites due to his past behavior and allegedly paying off Stormy Daniels.

“Mayor Pete” announced his candidacy in January and has made news criticizing Trump’s religion before. He called Pence the “cheerleader for the porn-star presidency” during a CNN town hall last month.