Karen Pence Says Pete Buttigieg Is Using Mike Pence for “Notoriety”

"You shouldn't be attacked for what your religious beliefs are."

Second Lady Karen Pence has accused Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg of using her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, to gain “notoriety” in a crowded field.

Karen Pence and daughter Charlotte Pence appeared on The Brian Kilmeade Show to plug their new book, Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Nation’s Capital. It’s the followup to their first children’s book, Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, which spawned the pro-gay marriage spoof A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo from the team at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

While Karen Pence tried to keep the conversation promotional throughout, Kilmeade pushed for a response to Buttigieg’s comments on the vice president made during a speech at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch, in Washington, D.C.

pete buttigieg chasten glezman
The Washington Post / Contributor
Buttigieg at home with his husband, Chasten Glezman

“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God,” he said.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

“Well, it’s kind of funny,” Karen Pence said while laughing. “Because I don’t think the vice president does have a problem with him, but I think it’s helping Pete get some notoriety by saying that about the vice president.”

Pence also claimed Buttigieg and her husband “have always had a great relationship,” before noting the book she and her daughter were there to promote was about “religious liberty.” The Trump administration has pushed for religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws, and Pence works at a school that bans LGBTQ employees, students, and the parents of students.

“You shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are,” she added.

Kilmeade also played a clip from 2015, when Buttigieg came out publicly as gay, in which the then-governor said he “had a great working relationship” with Buttigieg, and that he saw him as “a dedicated public servant and a patriot.”

“I’m just like, Pete, did you not like that?” Pence asked, after hearing the audio clip played in studio. “What’s the problem with that?”

Buttigieg appears to have responded in a tweet, although he does not name Mike or Karen Pence, reminding that just because someone is polite to you doesn’t mean they won’t also enact laws that “harm you and your family.”

Video of the interview segment in which Pence addresses the issue can be found below.

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