White House demands apology from Mike Pence for homophobic Pete Buttigieg ‘joke’

Mike Pence and Pete Buttigieg

The White House has demanded former vice-president Mike Pence apologise after making homophobic and misogynist jokes towards transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

The comments were made on Saturday (11 March) at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, DC. 

The dinner is organised by the Gridiron Club, a journalistic organisation, and brings together Washington journalists and politicians. Many of the political speakers will make light-hearted speeches and jokes about other prominent figures. 

At the event on Saturday, Pence took aim at Democrat Buttigieg for taking two months of paternity leave when his twins – who he adopted with his husband Chasten – were born. 

“When Pete’s two children were born, he took two months maternity leave, where upon thousands of travellers were stranded in airports, the air traffic system shut down, aeroplanes nearly collided in midair,” CNN quotes Pence as saying.

“I mean, Pete Buttigieg is the only person in human history to have a child and all the rest of us get postpartum depression.”

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Pence’s anti-LGBTQ+ views have been well documented and he is openly opposed to both same-sex marriage and unions, as well as discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Americans. 

Chasten Buttigieg was quick to hit back at the former vice-president jibes about this husband. 

On Twitter he wrote: “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?”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on Pence to apologise for the remarks. 

She said: “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. 

“He should apologise to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

In response to this, Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short also took to social media and called the matter “faux outrage”. 

“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’.”

In a second tweet, Short 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.”

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