- The Magazine
Richard Grenell, the openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Germany, is taking aim at presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, accusing him of trying to capitalize on Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-gay religious beliefs to further his candidacy.
Appearing on Fox News’ The Story with host Martha MacCallum, Grenell defended Pence and accused Buttigieg of perpetrating a “hate hoax” comparable to the anti-gay hate crime allegedly orchestrated by Empire actor Jussie Smollett.
According to Grenell, Buttigieg is capitalizing on stereotypes about Pence’s religiosity and wrongly accusing him of being “anti-gay” in order to raise money from political left-wingers who oppose Pence.
“Mayor Peter has been pushing this hate hoax, along the lines of Jussie Smollett, for a very long time now, several weeks,” Grenell said. “And I find it really ironic that Mayor Pete stayed silent about the so-called hate hoax on him and others during 2015, 2016, 2017 when Mike Pence was governor.
“There was total silence. It’s ironic that right about now when he’s starting his fundraising apparatus to run for president that he comes up with this idea and this attack.”
Grenell defended Pence and his wife, Karen, saying they are not hateful people.
“One of the things that really bothers me about this attack is that Mike Pence is a friend of mine,” he said. “Mike and Karen are great people, they’re 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 also took the opportunity to criticize the LGBTQ community for failing to be tolerant of people whose religious beliefs may no longer be considered politically correct.
“The gay community used to be the community pushing tolerance and diversity. We were the ones that were saying everyone should be able to love and accept each other. Now suddenly there’s a whole community of people demanding that we all think alike,” Grenell said. “I think it’s outrageous. 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. I think this is a total hate hoax and I think it’s outrageous.”
Grenell was later criticized on Twitter for attacking a presidential candidate as a sitting ambassador.
Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart asked: Why is a sitting US ambassador going on TV to talk about a Presidential candidate?”
Grenell replied: “My friend was attacked. I’m defending my friend from a terrible & erroneous charge of homophobia. And I’m gay.”
My friend was attacked. I’m defending my friend from a terrible & erroneous charge of homophobia. And I’m gay. https://t.co/PvJsPq1APy
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 18, 2019
He also lashed out at GLAAD for criticizing him, after the advocacy organization similarly noted that a “sitting ambassador shouldn’t be going on TV to attack a Presidential candidate.
“Odd that GLAAD wants to silence gays they don’t agree with,” Grenell replied. “Are we all supposed to think the same? #realdiversity.”
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 19, 2019
Grenell also attempted to prove that Pence is not as anti-gay as everyone thinks, retweeting a 2015 tweet from Pence reading: “If I saw a restaurant owner refusing to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.”
“The hate hoax being perpetrated on my friend @VP Mike Pence is sadly tied to a political fundraising strategy. Mayor Pete was silent for years — I’m outraged by his phony outrage,” Grenell wrote as part of the retweet.
Here’s a tweet from 2015 that is barely mentioned.
The hate hoax being perpetrated on my friend @VP Mike Pence is sadly tied to a political fundraising strategy. Mayor Pete was silent for years – I’m outraged by his phony outrage. pic.twitter.com/KA0DrknNR2
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 19, 2019
Pence wrote the tweet during a time when he was receiving significant backlash over signing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.
The law was criticized by many who claimed it would condone discrimination against LGBTQ people under the guise of religion.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!