Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said in a new interview that Vice President Mike Pence advances “homophobic” policy, continuing a recent back-and-forth with Mr. Pence on issues tied to sexuality and faith.
Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said he doesn’t know what’s in Mr. Pence’s heart and said he’s always been polite to him in person.
“But you look at the fact that he, to this day, cannot bring himself to say that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against people who are gay, or that I should have been allowed to serve and put my life on the line in the military, as I was, even though he said very nice things about my service,” Mr. Buttigieg told radio host Hugh Hewitt in an interview published Friday.
Mr. Hewitt had asked if Mr. Buttigieg, who is gay, really believes Mr. Pence is homophobic.
Mr. Buttigieg went on to say that the vice president hasn’t gone on the record to say whether he believes his marriage should be ended.
“So you know, if you’re in public office and you advance homophobic [policies], on some level it doesn’t matter whether you do that out of political calculation or whether you do it out of sincere belief,” he said. “The problem is it’s hurting other people.”
Mr. Buttigieg had name-checked Mr. Pence, a former governor of Indiana, when he said at an LGBTQ event this year that if being gay was a choice, it was a choice made “far, far above my pay grade.”
“That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” he had said. “That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Mr. Pence said recently that “we’ll have a lot more to say” about Mr. Buttigieg if he ends up winning the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“Well, Pete Buttigieg and I had a good relationship when I was governor and he was serving as mayor in the state of Indiana,” Mr. Pence said an interview with Fox News. “And, look, you know, I wish him well.”
“What’s troubling to me was his assertion and others’ assertion that was critical of people of our religious beliefs, broadly,” the vice president said. “And I remember a reference to the Mike Pences of the world. And I think every American cherishes the right of each of us to really live out our faith and live out our beliefs.”
President Trump told Fox News in a new interview that he doesn’t have a problem with Mr. Buttigieg being out on the campaign trail with Chasten, his husband.
“I think it’s absolutely fine. I do,” Mr. Trump said. “I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with. I have no problem with it whatsoever. I think it’s good.”
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