Mayor Pete Buttigieg branded Vice President Mike Pence “fanatical” and asked him to respect his marriage during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Buttigieg, an openly gay Democrat who is currently exploring a bid for the presidency in 2020, was asked if he had ever worked with Pence while Pence was governor of Indiana — and whether Colbert would “like him.”
“He’s nice,” the South Bend, Ind., Mayor responded. “If he were here you would think he’s a nice guy to your face, but he’s also just fanatical…. He seems to think the universe was created a few thousand years ago and that people like me get up in the morning and decide to be gay. And the thing about it is, if that was a choice, it was a choice that was made way above my pay grade.”
Buttigieg added: “What [Pence] doesn’t realize is that his quarrel is with my creator. My marriage has moved me closer to God, and I wish he respected that.”
Buttigieg, who came out during his 2015 reelection bid in a heartfelt open letter, married his husband Chasten in 2018.
Asked if his age was a hindrance should he decide to run — he turned 37 last month — Buttigieg responded that being from a younger generation is what fuels his desire for the presidency.
“I belong to the school shooting generation. I was in high school when Columbine happened,” he said, “We’re the generation that provided most of the troops for the conflicts after 9/11. We’re the generation that’s going to be on the business end of climate change. And if nothing changes economically, we’ll be the first generation ever to make less than our parents. So I believe no one has more at stake right now than younger people coming up, and i think a lot about the way the world is going look in 2054, when I reach the current age of the current president.”
Buttigieg later added: “I have more experience in government than the president, I have more executive experience than the vice president, I have more military experience than anyone to arrive at that desk since George H.W. Bush.”
In an interview with Metro Weekly this week, Buttigieg said that neither his background nor his sexuality were roadblocks to the presidency.
“My background is certainly unconventional for this, but I think that could be an asset,” Buttigieg said. “I’m a mayor, so my understanding of government is formed from the on the ground level where you’re solving problems, getting things done. There’s no one else to call sometimes, so you just have to find a solution.”
Speaking about his fellow Democratic competitors, Buttigieg noted that Trump and those around him have “certainly done an effective job of wedging off different parts of the American people against each other.”
“I think our job is to knit that back together in a stronger and richer fabric than we’ve ever had,” he told Metro Weekly. “All of us can play a role in that. A woman of color from the coast, or a young gay veteran from the Midwest who happens to be white. We all have something to offer.”