The White House on Monday called on Mike Pence to apologize for his remark that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had gone on “maternity leave,” saying that the former vice president’s “homophobic joke” at the Gridiron Club dinner on Saturday was “offensive and inappropriate.”
“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 punchline,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Pence delivered the line Saturday evening at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, DC – an event bringing together some of the city’s most prominent journalists, including from CNN, and the government officials they cover. It traditionally features politicians making jokes about notable Washington figures.
The former vice president quipped that if President Joe Biden doesn’t run for reelection, “there’s Pete Buttigieg, who’s an old friend of mine.”
“When Pete’s two children were born, he took two months maternity leave, where upon thousands of travelers were stranded in airports, the air traffic system shut down, airplanes nearly collided in midair,” Pence said. “I mean, Pete Buttigieg is the only person in human history to have a child and all the rest of us get postpartum depression.”
Objectively speaking, Buttigieg is an epic failure as Transportation Secretary, and he really has no place in federal government. With that in mind, Pence picking on Buttigieg is almost too easy, and he kind of feels like low-hanging fruit, so to speak. Pence should stick to attacking Democrats who have real power and influence. Then again, many on the right could be accurately predicting that Buttigieg might be running for President next year, given that Biden presumably isn’t running for re-election, so perhaps they’re targeting him because they see him as a serious rival? Either way, I think they’re wasting their time. Everyone knows that Hillary will be the Democratic nominee in 2024!