Mike Pence says Pete Buttigieg ‘can’t take a joke’ as he doubles down on homophobic comment

Former Vice President Mike Pence has doubled down on the homophobic comments he made about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during his speech at the Gridiron Dinner in Washington, DC.

While attending an event in New Hampshire with the Cheshire County GOP ahead of a possible run for president in 2024, Mr Pence told reporters that “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,” according to the AP.

“The only thing I can figure is Pete Buttigieg not only can’t do his job, but he can’t take a joke,” he added.

Mr Pence made fun of Mr Buttigieg at the Gridiron Dinner for taking leave in 2021 following the birth of his twins, which he adopted along with his husband Chasten Buttigieg. The ex-VP called it “maternity leave” and said that “Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression,” in a reference to disruptions to flights, general travel, and supply chain problems.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Mr Pence’s comments were “offensive and inappropriate”. She said he “should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect”.

Chasten Buttigieg shared a photo on social media of the transportation secretary at the hospital where their children had been born prematurely and subsequently received treatment for respiratory viruses.

“An honest question for you, @Mike_Pence, after your attempted joke this weekend. If your grandchild was born prematurely and placed on a ventilator at two months old – their tiny fingers wrapped around yours as the monitors beep in the background – where would you be?” he wrote on 13 March on Twitter.

Linking to a blog post on Medium by the couple about the struggle following the birth of their children published in August last year, Chasten Buttigieg tweeted: “I’ll leave this here for you should you want to know more about the kids you are so eager to use as a punchline.”

Chasten Buttigieg appeared on The View on ABC on Tuesday, saying that “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, 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”.

“He says he’s a family-values Republican. So I don’t think he’s practising what he preaches here,” he added about the former vice president.