Vice President Mike Pence has a long history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and actions, but according to a White House aide he can’t be anti-gay because he was willing to eat lunch with the prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, and his male partner on Tuesday.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere is just the latest in the administration to attempt to gaslight the country about Pence’s feelings regarding the LGBTQ community, including Pence himself, in spite of still implying being gay is a sin.
For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland. @merrionstreet pic.twitter.com/Cj5kMpln0U
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) September 3, 2019
“We can’t believe we have to say this but simply meeting with a gay person doesn’t erase Pence’s long history of attacking LGBTQ people through policy, legislation, and rhetoric. Nice try, though,” GLAAD tweeted.
The Human Rights Campaign noted in a statement that the meeting was not about LGBTQ rights, but was simply with LGBTQ people.
“I’ve sat at tables with people who would gladly deny me the right to marry, who openly support conversion therapy, and who adamantly believe being gay is a choice. Doesn’t mean they’re any less homophobic because we shared a meal,” said Chasten Buttigieg, who is married to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
The candidate and Pence went back and forth on the issue earlier this year, with Buttigieg saying he wished people like Pence realized that his relationship with his husband has strengthened his relationship with God. When Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, tried to push back by noting the vice president had always been nice to him in person, Buttigieg appeared to respond in a tweet.
“People will often be polite to you in person, while advancing policies that harm you and your family,” he wrote. “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.”