Former Vice President Mike Pence made a misogynistic and homophobic “joke” about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at a political dinner and doubled down on his comments instead of apologizing.
Organized by the Gridiron Club, the annual dinner brings together Washington journalists and politicians. Traditionally, political speakers will make light-hearted speeches and make jokes about other famous figures.
At the March 11 event, Pence took aim at Buttigieg, a Democrat, for taking two months of paternity leave when his twins, whom he adopted with his husband Chastain, were born.
“I mean, Pete Buttigieg is the only person in the history of mankind who has a baby and everyone else has postpartum depression.” Pence said.
“When Pete had his two children, he took two months of maternity leave, leaving thousands of travelers stranded at airports, air traffic shutdowns, and planes nearly colliding mid-air.” CNN quoted Pence as saying.
Describing the Gridiron Dinner as a “roast,” the former vice president defended his comments despite the White House apologizing.
“Well, gridiron dinner is a roast, and I’ve had a lot of jokes made about me,” Pence said.
“I made a lot of jokes to Republicans and Democrats. The only thing I can understand is that Pete Buttigieg not only can’t do his job, he can’t take a joke.”
When the comments were originally made, Butgig’s husband took to Twitter to criticize Pence for mocking their decision to take time off to care for their child.
“If your grandson was born premature and put on a ventilator at two months old – his tiny fingers wrapped around yours as monitors blare in the background – where would you be?” he wrote.
White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre called on Pence to apologize for the remarks.
She said: “The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, especially since he treated women who suffer from postpartum depression as if they were acute.
“He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people who have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.”
In response to thisPence’s former chief of staff, Mark Short, also took to social media to call the issue a “fake outrage.”
“The Biden administration must rid America of fake anger. The hypocrisy is especially rife when you consider that their own Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, joked that he longed for the “old days” when “Jews did all the work.”
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Mike Pence defends his homophobic comments towards Pete Buttigieg: ‘He can’t take a joke’