Mike Pence is doubling down on his homophobic and misogynistic attack against Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, his husband, and their infant children, just hours after Chasten Buttigieg accused the former Trump vice president of hypocrisy for not practicing what he preaches.
Last weekend Pence, who frequently calls himself "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order," gave a speech at the closed-door annual Gridiron Club Dinner, mockingly saying to attendees that Secretary Buttigieg took "maternity leave" after the couple adopted twins, but it was the country, he claimed, that suffered "postpartum depression." Buttigieg is the nation’s first out gay Cabinet member. The White House has requested an apology from Pence.
Asked about his remarks on Thursday, Pence, weighing a White House run, defended them.
"Well, the Gridiron Dinner is a roast," he told WMUR (video below), "and I had a lot of jokes directed to me."
"I directed a lot of jokes to Republicans and Democrats. The only thing I can figure, Pete Buttigieg not only can't do his job but he can't take a joke."
On Thursday, Chasten Buttigieg visited the co-hosts of ABC's "The View," and was asked about the attack. He said he was not expecting an apology from Pence.
"The thing about what he said is, it flies in the face of what he says he is. He says he's a family values Republican," Buttigieg said.
"So I don't think he's practicing what he preaches," he continued. "But it's part of a much bigger trend: attacking families. And it wasn’t just about attacking the LGBTQ community, because someone wrote this [joke] and he checked it and purposely said, 'maternity leave' rather than 'paternity leave,' but also, it's a bigger conversation about the work that women do in families, right? Taking a swipe at all women in all families, and expecting that women would stay at home and raise children I think is a pretty misogynistic view, especially from a man who just last year said that we should be supporting more people who adopt."
Buttigieg had criticized Pence earlier about the attack, and explained to "The View," that "it doesn’t make you a snowflake to tell someone that they’ve made a mistake."
"And you know, I spoke up for two reasons. One, I’m always going to stick up for my family, especially my kid," he said, noting that their son was in the ICU when Secretary Buttigieg was on paternity leave.
"The other reason I spoke up is because, like I mentioned, we all have an obligation to hold people accountable for when they say something wrong, especially when it’s misogynistic, especially when it’s homophobic. And I just don’t take that when it when it’s directed at my family, and I don’t think anybody else would, especially when you bring a very small medically fragile child into it."