Metro Weekly

Richard Grenell accuses Pete Buttigieg of ‘pushing hate hoax’ against Mike Pence

U.S. Ambassador to Germany defends Vice President Mike Pence from allegations that he holds anti-gay views

Richard Grenell — Photo: U.S. Consulate Munich / Wiki Commons

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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