Mike Pence hits back at Pete Buttigieg: ‘He knows me better’

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg

Mike Pence and Pete Buttigieg continue to trade barbs, with the US vice president speaking out against the Democratic presidential hopeful in a new television interview.

Pence told CNBC on Wednesday (April 10) that Buttigieg “said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally.”

“And he knows better. He knows me,” he added. “But I get it. You know, it’s – look, again, 19 people running for president on that side in a party that’s sliding off to the left. And they’re all competing with one another for how much more liberal they are.”

Pete Buttigieg says Mike Pence ‘has a problem’

Earlier Buttigieg accused Pence of “having a problem” with the fact that he is gay.

Speaking at an April 7 event arranged by the Victory Fund, an organisation supporting LGBT+ political candidates, he said: “If me being gay was a choice, it was made far, far above my pay grade.

“That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand – that if you got a problem with who I am—your problem is not with me, your quarrel sir, is with my creator.”

“If me being gay was a choice, it was made far, far above my pay grade.”

—Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg, who is one of many vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He came out as gay while campaigning for his second term in 2015, when Pence was the state’s governor.

Mike Pence and Pete Buttigieg have ‘great relationship’

Karen Pence, the US second lady, claimed that her husband and Buttigieg have “always had a great relationship,” and that the mayor has created a feud in order to “get some notoriety.”

“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 in a radio interview on Tuesday (April 9).

“But again it goes back to religious liberty, told through the eyes of a bunny,” she told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade, referring to her 2018 children’s book which centred around the Pence family’s pet rabbit.

US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen waving

US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen (Mark Wilson/Getty)

Around the same time Mrs Pence’s book was released, writer Jill Twiss and comedian John Oliver released a parody which took aim at the vice president’s anti-LGBT+ views.

Pence once claimed that same-sex marriage would lead to the “deterioration of the family” and “societal collapse,” and has been accused of supporting so-called conversion therapy, claims he denies.

As Indiana’s governor, the vice president signed into law a “religious liberty” act under which businesses could have discriminated against LGBT+ people. After nation-wide criticism, an amendment was passed guaranteeing protections for LGBT+ people.