Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, fended off an “attack” on her husband’s faith Tuesday from openly-gay Democrat presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg.
Speaking Tuesday on The Brian Kilmeade Show on Fox Radio to promote a book she wrote with her daughter, Pence expressed surprise that Buttigieg would target her husband, who is a former congressman and governor of Indiana when they “have always had a great relationship.”
“I think in our country we need to understand you shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are and I think kids need to learn that from a young age that this is OK, what faith people have; we don’t attack them for their faith,” she said.
Buttigieg, 37, recently drew criticism from conservatives for declaring that his same-sex marriage has moved him “closer to God,” and telling Vice President Mike Pence and conservative Christians to “quarrel” with God if they have a problem with his homosexuality.
"My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man — and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God," Buttigieg declared during a speech at the LGBT Victory Fund's annual brunch in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, according to USA Today. "And that's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand, that if you've got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."
Karen Pence insisted, however, that she doesn’t believe her husband has an issue with Buttigieg and suggested he may just be attacking the vice president for political gain.
“What’s kind of funny is 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, but again it just goes back to this religious liberty,” she said. “People came to America for religious liberty and I think that’s something that we as Americans need to continue to teach our kids about and fight for.”
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In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Alyssa Farah, the vice president’s press secretary said the last time her boss publicly commented on Buttigieg was in 2015 when he came out as gay.
“Since some are asking: the last time we recall Pence even mentioned @PeteButtigieg was in 2015, after news that Pete came out, Pence said: ‘I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot,’” Farah wrote.
In her Tuesday interview, Karen Pence asked Buttigieg if he had a problem with that 2015 comment.
"I'm just like, 'Pete, did you not like that,' because that's what the vice president said about him," she said. "So what's the problem with that?"
In a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, Buttigieg appeared to respond to her, suggesting that Pence was being polite.
"People will often be polite to you in person, while advancing policies that harm you and your family. You will be polite to them in turn, but you need not stand for such harms. Instead, you push back, honestly and emphatically. So it goes, in the public square," he wrote.