Karen Pence accuses Pete Buttigieg of using Mike Pence for ‘notoriety’
Second Lady Karen Pence has claimed her husband, Vice President Mike Pence and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg have a “great relationship.”
Karen and her daughter Charlotte Pence appeared on Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show on Tuesday (April 9) to talk about new children’s book about the rabbit Marlon Bundo.
The Second Lady was asked to address remarks Buttigieg made on Sunday (April 7) at an event organised by the Victory Fund, a political action committee that supports LGBT+ candidates for office.
“I think it’s helping Pete to get some notoriety by saying that about the vice president.”
— Karen Pence
“They’ve really always had a great relationship,” she said, before trying to steer the conversation back to the promotion of her and her daughter’s book.
“That’s what part of what is so great about the book. One of the things we start the book off with is religious liberty. In our country we need to understand you should not be attacked for what your beliefs are. Kids need to learn that from a young age, no matter what faith people have, you should not be attacked for your faith,” she added.
What did Pete Buttigieg say about Mike Pence in his speech?
Like the Pences, Mayor Pete—as he is affectionately called by his supporters—is from Indiana. He came out as gay during his second re-election campaign in 2015, while Mike Pence was governor of Indiana, in a newspaper column in which he also condemned the governor’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a legislation that equality campaigners said would enabled discrimination against LGBT+ people.
In his speech, Buttigieg talked about his own struggle to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. A clip from the speech was played on the radio show, in which Buttigieg names the vice president, saying: “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. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand.”
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The Second Lady, who works part-time as an art teacher at a Christian school in Virginia that bans LGBT+ students and staff, then remarked that her husband does not have any issues with Buttigieg, and accused him of namechecking the vice president to gain notoriety in the crowded field of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“It’s funny because I don’t think the vice president does have a problem with him, but I think it’s helping Pete to get some notoriety by saying that about the vice president,” she said, adding “But again it goes back to religious liberty, told through the eyes of a bunny.”
Kilmeade also played a clip from a 2015 interview of Mike Pence, in which he was asked to comment about Buttigieg’s coming out.
The then governor of Indiana said: “I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. We have a great working relationship. I see him as a dedicated public servant, and a patriot.” The same interview was shared by the vice president’s press secretary Alyssa Farah on Twitter on Tuesday.
Buttigieg appeared to address the Pences’ response in a Twitter post on Tuesday. Without explicitly naming the vice president or his wife, he wrote: “People will often be polite to you in person, while advancing policies that harm you and your family. You will be polite to them in turn, but you need not stand for such harms. Instead, you push back, honestly and emphatically. So it goes, in the public square.”