Pete Buttigieg is not looking to get into a back and forth about a recent claim by a Trump official who argued his bringing up Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ record was a “hate hoax” akin to Jussie Smollett.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the top ranking out gay member of the administration, recently went on Fox News to make the charge, claiming Pence is anti-gay was merely an attempt to gain donations and attention in a crowded Democratic primary field. Pence’s wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, made a similar accusation, saying Buttigieg was using the vice president for “notoriety.” Meanwhile, Pence has said Buttigieg is attacking his faith, even though they are both Christians, and implied that being gay was a sinful choice when asked directly about the situation between himself and the young presidential candidate.
Anderson Cooper asked Buttigieg about Grenell’s comments Monday night during a CNN town hall event but did not get an answer, or at least not likely one he was expecting.
Mayor Buttigieg on dig from Trump official: I know bait when I see it
During a CNN town hall, Buttigieg refused to engage when asked about a Trump administration official who accused him of pushing a "hate hoax" during his back-and-forth with VP Mike Pence #ButtigiegTownHall pic.twitter.com/hqfPjWYIcw
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 23, 2019
“I’m not a master fisherman, but I know bait when I see it, and I’m not gonna take it,” Buttigieg said to applause.
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said at an LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, kicking off the back and forth between himself, Pence, and the vice president’s supporters.
“And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me; your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”