On Wednesday, Ric Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, excoriated South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeig, who is gay and has announced his candidacy for the presidency, for saying about Vice President Mike Pence, “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.”
Grenell, who is also gay and a staunch supporter of LGBT rights, responded on Twitter, “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.”
Buttigieg’s comments came from an interview with Buzzfeed News’ “Profile” in which he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden’s statement that Pence “is a decent guy.” Biden later backed off his comment after the Left fiercely criticized him.
Buttgieg stated of Pence, “I mean to your face, if he were sitting right here, you’d think that this guy is very polite. But that masks this absolutely fanatical view about how the world works or how the universe works that has led to these incredibly hurtful, dangerous, and harmful policies, and that’s what we have now in the White House. And I think 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.”
At a CNN townhall forum from the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas over the weekend, Buttgieg said of Pence, “How could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency? Is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don’t know. I don’t know.”
When Buttgieg was asked if Pence’s views were congruent with voters in Indiana, where he formerly served as governor, Buttgieg pronounced:
Please don’t judge my state by our former governor. I think those views are so out of line with where anybody is. And, look, I got to tell you, this was kind of a difficult journey for a lot of people. I mean, 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 benefitted from the pace of that change. But I also understand how disorienting it must be for people to have gone through that.
So when we had this huge and painful controversy in 2015, when Mike Pence divided our state with this so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was really a license to discriminate, provided you remembered to mention your religion as an excuse for discriminating — that’s what that was — when that happened, we worked really hard to invite people who were struggling to come on to the right side of history but wanted to get there to feel that we weren’t going to judge them because they had struggled. We just wanted them on our side.
But the amazing thing that happened in Indiana was that Democrats and Republicans rose up. There was a coalition of mayors, business leaders, sports leaders, I think even NASCAR put out a statement saying they were disappointed. And the business Republicans in our state revolted right alongside us progressives.
And so that shows me that there is a belief in just decency that really does stand against that kind of social extremism. And my hope is that same decency can be summoned from our communities in red states and blue states to change what’s happening in the politics of our country before it’s too late.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked, “Do you think — do you think Vice President Pence would be a better or worse president than President Trump?
Buttgieg snarked, “Oh. Does it have to be between those two?
Tapper commented, “Politics is about choices, man, you know that.”
I mean, I don’t know. It’s really strange. Because I used to at least believe that he believed in our — I’ve disagreed with him ferociously on these things, but I thought, well, at least he believes in our institutions and he’s not personally corrupt.
But then — but then how could he get on board with this presidency? How could somebody who — you know, his interpretation of scripture is pretty different from mine to begin with. OK, my understanding of scripture is that it is about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea of welcome.
That’s what I get in the gospel when I’m in church. And his has a lot more to do with sexuality and, I don’t know, a certain view of rectitude. But even if you buy into that, how could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency? Is that he — is that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don’t know. I don’t know.