Second Lady Karen Pence responded on Tuesday to the recent attacks on her husband from 2020 presidential challenger and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Speaking on Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show, Karen Pence said people “shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are.”
Buttigieg, who came out as a gay man in 2015, has thrown jabs at the Vice President, characterizing him as a “fanatical” religious anti-LGBT bigot.
“Speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” the mayor said at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington on Sunday.
“And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” he continued. “If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Moreover, during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Buttigieg said of Mr. Pence, “He’s nice. If he were here, you would think he’s a nice guy to your face. But he’s also fanatical.”
Karen Pence pushed back on the attacks, telling Killmeade, “I think in our country, we need to understand you shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are and I think kids need to learn that at a young age that this is OK, what faith people have; we don’t attack them for their faith.”
She also noted, according to The Hill, that while Buttigieg’s comments are helping the Democrat garner “some notoriety,” the mayor and her husband “have always had a great relationship.”
Writing at National Review, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro said Buttigieg’s recent barbs at Pence have been hurled in “bad faith.” For example, Shapiro noted that Pence has seemingly never uttered a single bad word about Buttigieg, but has instead offered the mayor respect and praise:
Back in 2015, South Bend, Ind.’s mayor, Pete Buttigieg, came out of the closet as a gay man. Asked about the news, Indiana governor, Mike Pence, simply responded, “I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot.”
A year earlier, Buttigieg had been deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve. According to the Indianapolis Star, “a noticeably moved Pence called Buttigieg the day he was driving to the base.”
Conservative Chad Felix Greene, an openly gay man, also took issue with Buttigieg’s remarks on Pence. “Pence is remarkably tolerant in every sense of the word, separating his personal religious views from his personal and professional relationships in a way as to not impose on anyone else,” Greene argued in a piece at The Federalist. “He is the ideal example of Christians coexisting in a secular society, and he has been repeatedly kind, generous, polite, and welcoming to LGBT Americans in every scenario he encounters them.”
“There is not a single example of Pence in his professional leadership role being rude, disrespectful, or hostile towards a gay person in the years he has been vice president, governor, or a member of Congress,” Greene added.