Mike Pence and Pete Buttigieg feud intensifies as vice president says 2020 candidate ‘knows better’ than to attack him

'He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and of me personally. He knows better. He knows me'

Chris Riotta
New York
@chrisriotta
Thursday 11 April 2019 19:40
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Pete Buttigieg announces US presidential run

Mike Pence has addressed his experiences working with Pete Buttigieg after the Indiana mayor spoke about his faith and sexuality in a speech that went viral over the weekend.

They mayor, who is exploring a 2020 presidential run against Donald Trump, drew attention at the Victory Fund Brunch when he suggested the vice president’s anti-LGBTQ+ agenda during his time as governor of Indiana went against his strict Catholic faith.

“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God,” he said. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pence’s of the world could understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Speaking with CNBC’s Joe Kernan, the vice president said Mr Buttigieg “knows better” than to attack his faith.

“I worked very closely with Mayor Pete when I was governor of the state of Indiana,” Mr Pence said. “We had a great working relationship. He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and of me personally. He knows better. He knows me.”

Mr Pence went on to suggest the Democratic mayor was using him to get ahead of his potential competitors in a crowded Democratic primary field.

“I get it,” he said. “They got 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 can be.”

The vice president’s wife, Karen — who now teaches art at a school that rejects student applications based on their parents’ sexuality — also rejected criticisms of her husband and their faith this week.

“You shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are and I think kids need to learn that at a young age that this is okay what faith people have,” she said. “We don’t attack them for their faith.”

Mr Buttigieg has leapt in the polls in crucial states like Iowa and New Hampshire, while proving to be one of the biggest fundraisers of the first quarter despite little name recognition nationwide.

A devout Episcopalian, Mr Buttigieg has often discussed his religious views and sexuality along the campaign trail, refuting the notion that America is not yet ready to elect a queer president.

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“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,” Mr Buttigieg said over the weekend.

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