Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, condemned Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for his attacks against Vice President Mike Pence as homophobic.
The openly gay ambassador likened Buttigieg’s accusations to a “hate hoax along the lines of Jussie Smollett” during a Fox News appearance on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Thursday.
The South Bend, Indiana mayor sparked an exchange with Pence, the former Indiana governor, when he claimed that the vice president had a “problem” with him because he is gay. MacCallum played a video clip of Buttigieg in a CNN interview from Tuesday for Grenell’s reaction.
“This is someone who was against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ who felt it was too pro-gay. He wanted to make sure even closeted members couldn’t serve,” Buttigieg said.
Grenell came to the defense of the vice president whom he called a friend.
“Mayor Pete has been pushing this hate hoax along the lines of Jussie Smollett for a very long time now, several weeks,” he said, referring to the “Empire” actor who is accused of faking a hate crime against himself in Chicago in January.
“I find it really ironic that Mayor Pete stayed silent about this so-called hate hoax on him and others during 2015, 2016, 2017 when Mike Pence was governor. There was total silence,” Grenell added. “It’s ironic that right about now, when he’s starting his fund-raising apparatus to run for president, that he comes up with this idea and this attack.”
Buttigieg, who has identified himself as a Christian, has repeatedly criticized the vice president since declaring his candidacy. Pence politely fired back at the South Bend mayor during a CNN interview earlier this month.
“I’ve known Mayor Pete for many years, we’ve worked very closely together when I was governor, and I considered him a friend. And he knows I don’t have a problem with him. I don’t believe in discrimination against anybody. I treat everybody the way that I want to be treated,” he said.
VP fights back: Buttigieg chooses unwise strategy to attack Pence’s religion https://t.co/9uRm2OI0jG
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 14, 2019
Grenell went on to defend Pence and his wife Karen, as well as their Christianity, noting how the couple had “accepted” him and his partner.
“One of the things that really bothers me about this attack is that Mike Pence is a friend of mine,” Grenell told MacCallum.
“Mike and Karen are great people. They are godly people. They’re followers of Christ. They don’t have hate in their heart for anyone. They know my partner, they have accepted us,” he said. “You ask me do we agree philosophically on every single issue? No.”
The 52-year-old former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations also called out the gay community for the hypocrisy of declaring “tolerance and diversity” while “demanding that we all think alike.”
He added that Buttigieg’s attacks are “outrageous,” noting how Pence has always supported him.
“I think it’s outrageous, and let me say one more thing,” he said.
“When Mayor Pete came out, the vice president complimented him and said he holds him in high regard. The vice president or then-governor has said nothing but positive things about Mayor Pete,” Grenell added. “I think this is a total hate hoax and I think it’s outrageous.”