Gay US ambassador claims Pete Buttigieg is pushing Pence ‘hate hoax’
The US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has laid into Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg for attacking Mike Pence’s LGBT+ rights record.
Grenell, who is one of the only openly gay officials to have been appointed under the Trump administration, spoke out to defend Pence after Buttigieg criticised his long anti-LGBT record as Governor of Indiana.
Trump ambassador: Pete Buttigieg is pushing Jussie Smollett-style hate hoax
In an interview with Fox News on Thursday (April 18), Grenell said: “Mayor Pete has been pushing this hate hoax along the lines of Jussie Smollett for a very long time now, several weeks.”
The right-wing ambassador claimed: “When Mike Pence was governor, there was total silence [from Buttigieg]. It’s ironic that right about now when he’s starting his fundraising apparatus to run for president that he comes up with this idea and this attack.”
In the Fox News interview, Grenell continued: “Mike and Karen are great people, they’re godly people, they’re followers of Christ. They don’t have hate in their heart for anyone. They know my partner, they have accepted us. You asked me do we agree philosophically on every single issue? No.
“When Mayor Pete came out, the vice president complimented him and said he holds him in high regard. The vice president [has] said nothing but positive things about Mayor Pete. I think this is a total hate hoax and I think it’s outrageous.”
Pence has never denied opposing LGBT+ rights, and despite obfuscation from Republicans, LGBT+ campaigners insist that Pence’s long anti-LGBT history is a matter of public record.
Mike Pence has ‘extreme’ anti-LGBT record
In 2000, Pence published an election manifesto calling for HIV/AIDS prevention funding to be drained from “organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,” an apparent reference to LGBT+ inclusive groups.
Pence instead called for funding for “institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour,” which has since led to accusations he was endorsing conversion therapy.
While Pence served as Governor of Indiana, he signed the controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, a law which allows religious people and businesses to cite their conscience as a defence in legal disputes.
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Pence also appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality in a subsequent interview.
From 2013 to 2017, his cuts to HIV testing and ban on needle exchanges led to the worst outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the state’s history, sparking an intervention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A 2018 report alleged that Pence has played a pivotal role in anti-LGBT actions by the Trump administration.
The Human Rights Campaign report looked in-depth at Pence’s record on LGBT rights as a candidate, as Governor of Indiana and as vice president, and found he has demonstrated a “consistent” approach to dismantling protections for LGBT+ people.
In March, Pence hit back “attacks” on his wife, Karen Pence, for teaching at a school that discriminates against gay children.