These Pete Buttigieg Quotes About Mike Pence Bring Up This Big Question
We're barely into the 2020 election cycle, but Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana is clearly a rising star. You may not have been very familiar with the Indiana mayor, but now that he's running for president in 2020 he's definitely taking up some space in the spotlight. Should he snag the victory, Buttigieg would become the first openly gay president of the United States. In 2019, you wouldn't think that would be a big deal. But given Vice President Mike Pence's track record with the LGBTQ community, it's worth looking at Pete Buttigieg's quotes about Mike Pence. You might be surprised to find that they actually have a common theme: how to interpret morality.
On April 14, Buttigieg officially announced his 2020 run in his home state of Indiana, and he's been topping the polls since. As of June 25, he was in fifth place among the wide field of Democratic candidates, according to a The Economist/YouGov poll. Ahead of him were former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
Buttigieg, who came out in 2015 during his re-election campaign, and Pence, who was governor of Indiana at the time, are obvious candidates to clash heads. Pence is known for his strict evangelical Christianity and has often been criticized for his troubling views towards the LGBTQ community. While a member of Congress in 2006, Pence voted against marriage equality, and has been criticized for the appearance of supporting so-called "gay conversion therapy," which purports to be able to change an individual's sexual orientation. Pence has denied supporting the practice, according to The New York Times. In 2018, Pence was condemned by LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for his stance on LGBTQ rights. Meanwhile, Buttigieg is a "devoted Episcopalian" who enjoys quoting Christian scripture, per The New York Times. He has also — unsurprisingly — taken a very personal stance on supporting LGBTQ rights at all levels, and has pushed back on the idea that discrimination against LGBTQ people has anything to do with morality.
So here's what Buttigieg has to say about his former Indiana colleague.
Run it up the ladder, Pence.
While Pence is known for his vocal Christianity, Buttigieg is adept at turning religious morals back around on the vice president. In a speech at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington, D.C. on April 7, Buttigieg addressed Pence and said that if the vice president has a problem with him being gay, he needs to bring that issue to a higher power. He told the crowd,
If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade, and that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand — that if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.
That's quite a mic drop. BRB, making a note to end all future disputes with "take it up with god."
He's called Pence a "cheerleader" for Trump.
As you probably remember, Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, alleged she had an affair with Trump shortly after he married Melania back in 2006, which the president has denied. In 2016, Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen admitted to paying off Daniels, as well as Karen McDougal (who also claimed an affair with Trump), allegedly at the direction of the president. Trump has denied all claims of affairs with either woman, and also denied knowing about the payments in advance. The White House did not respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the matter.
During a CNN Town Hall on March 10, Buttigieg did not hold back any punches on the subject, or Pence for his proximity to it. Though Pence has not been accused of any involvement in the scandal, Buttigieg called the vice president a "cheerleader for the porn star presidency" and questioned his faith. Buttigieg said,
How would he allow himself to become the cheerleader for the porn star presidency? Is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing Donald Trump? I don't know. I don't know.
Is it shade if you say it directly? I know it's not, but it sure feels like it.
He thinks the VP is out of line."
During the same CNN Town Hall, James Doty, a Stanford University professor of neurosurgery, stood up to ask Buttigieg a question about whether he thought his liberal stances on religion and sexuality, or Pence's conservative ones, were more in line with the average American voter. "Are [Pence's] views an aberration, and is this really representative of the state, or are more people more like you and your more liberal views of us as humans?" Doty asked.
Buttigieg started off by responding diplomatically. "Please don't judge my state by our former governor," he said to laughter and applause. He then went on to, essentially, imply that Pence is an old man out of touch with America. He said,
I think those views are so out of line with where anybody is. And look, I gotta tell you, this was kind of a difficult journey for a lot of people. If you were conservative and you're from an older generation, and you were brought up by people you trusted to believe that it was morally wrong to be, for example, in a same sex marriage. And then the pace of change has happened so quickly. I've benefited from the pace of that change. But I also understand how disorienting it must be for people to have gone through that.
The very definition of a polite dismissal.
With the 2020 election cycle only just starting, I think we're guaranteed to hear some more from Buttigieg on the subject of Pence, religion, and morality. I for one can't wait.