White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called out former Vice President Mike Pence for making what she called an “offensive” and “homophobic” joke, after Pence joked that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was on “maternity leave.”
According to CNN, Pence spoke at an annual dinner at the Gridiron Club and joked that if President Biden doesn’t seek re-election, “There’s Pete Buttigieg, who’s an old friend of mine.”
“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, airplanes nearly collided in midair,” Pence remarked.
“I mean, Pete Buttigieg is the only person in human history to have a child and all the rest of us get postpartum depression,” the former vice president chuckled.
The press secretary released a statement claiming that Pence was using women as a punch line when he made fun of the transportation secretary, saying: “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 punch line,” Jean-Pierre claimed.
“He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” she added.
Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, fired back at Pence’s “attempted joke” on Twitter, saying “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?”
The Gridiron Club is a Washington, D.C., journalistic organization formed in 1885 that hosts an annual dinner that typically features the United States Marine Band, satirical skits, and remarks by the president’s administration.
Pence took a serious turn at the event as well, however, with lengthy comments about January 6, 2021, making accusations about President Trump and calling the day a “disgrace.”
“President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election, and his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable,” Pence said, according to a CNN report.
“Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace, and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way,” he added.
The former vice president also praised the media’s coverage of the day’s events, claiming their reporting “in part” allowed him to properly carry out his role.
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