Former Vice President Mike Pence defended his recent joke about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg taking “maternity leave” amid backlash from Democrats, including President Joe Biden’s White House.
During his recent remarks at the Gridiron Dinner, Pence delivered a speech full of jokes about several politicians from both sides of the political aisle. In one of those jokes, Pence mentioned Buttigieg taking “maternity leave” amid thousands of canceled flights and a supply chain crisis in October 2021.
President Biden will probably run but, if not, there’s Pete Buttigieg, who’s an old Indiana friend. When Pete’s two children were born, he took two months maternity leave, whereupon thousands of travelers were stranded in airports, the air traffic system shut down, and airplanes nearly collided on our runways.
Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets post-partum depression. The reason I know him is that he was mayor when I was governor. Pete was so popular in Indiana he recently moved to Michigan.
However, some Democrats, including Buttigieg’s husband Chasten, immediately accused the former vice president of making “misogynistic” or “homophobic” remarks.
“I spoke up because we all have an obligation to hold people accountable for when they say something wrong, especially when it’s misogynistic, especially when it’s homophobic,” Buttigieg’s husband told ABC. “And I just don’t take that when it’s towards my family, and I don’t think anyone else would, especially when you bring a very small, medically fragile child into it.”
The White House weighed in on Monday, also falsely accusing Pence of being homophobic and misogynistic.
“The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, all the more so because he treated women suffering from postpartum depression as a punchline,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”
However, it appears Pence is not walking back his comments despite Democrats attacking his character.
“The Gridiron Dinner is a roast. I had a lot of jokes directed to me, and I directed a lot of jokes to Republicans and Democrats,” Pence told reporters at a New Hampshire Republican Party dinner on Thursday. “The only thing I can figure is Pete Buttigieg not only can’t do his job, but he can’t take a joke.”