The decade's most triggering comedy
Former Vice President Mike Pence and the Biden White House are engaging in a war of words after Pence made a joke about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Pence initiated the sequence of events with his comments at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington for journalists and politicians. He pointed out the incongruity of Buttigieg taking leave of his post after the birth of his adopted twins while Americans were struggling with air travel.
“He took two months ‘maternity’ leave whereupon thousands of travelers were stranded in airports, the air traffic system shut down, and airplanes nearly collided on our runways. Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression,” Pence quipped about Buttigieg, who is gay.
The White House furiously demanded an apology. “The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, all the more so because he treated women suffering from postpartum depression as a punchline,” White House Press Secretary Karine-Jean Pierre snapped. “He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Buttigieg’s husband Chasten tweeted, “An honest question for you, @Mike_Pence, after your attempted joke this weekend. If your grandchild was born prematurely and placed on a ventilator at two months old – their tiny fingers wrapped around yours as the monitors beep in the background – where would you be?”
But Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, fired back, “The Biden administration should spare America the faux outrage. The hypocrisy is especially rich considering their own Secretary of State Antony Blinken joked that he yearned for ‘the old days’ when ‘Jews did all the work.’”
“The White House would be wise to focus less on placating the woke police and focus more on bank failures, planes nearly colliding in mid-air, train derailments, and the continued supply chain crisis,” he added.
The White House would be wise to focus less on placating the woke police and focus more on bank failures, planes nearly colliding in mid-air, train derailments, and the continued supply chain crisis.
— Marc Short (@marctshort) March 13, 2023
Asked about Pence’s comments, Buttigieg said, “There’s not a lot of time for me to focus on the Washington game because we have real work to do.”
Buttigieg took roughly two months of paternity leave between August to October 2021, during which time a supply chain crisis hit the American economy. Among other concerns about Buttigieg’s unavailability, Protect the Public’s Trust asked for and received documents showing Buttigieg declined a request for a call with Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley to discuss an application for funds for a bridge in Iowa.