Vice President Mike Pence chastised Southbend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttegieg for attacking his Christian faith during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box that’s set to air Thursday.
“He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally. And he knows better. He knows me,” Pence said in a teaser clip of the interview released Wednesday. “But I get it. You know, it’s—look, again, 19 people running for president on that side in a party that’s sliding off to the left. And they’re all competing with one another for how much more liberal they can be.”
Buttegieg, an openly gay Christian who has risen to prominence in recent months as a Democratic presidential contender, criticized Pence on Sunday for his longstanding opposition to same-sex marriage.
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” he said during an address to LGBTQ group. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
When Buttegieg came out as gay in 2015, Pence, then representing Indiana in Congress, expressed support for the mayor.
“I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot,” Pence said.
When asked about Buttegieg’s criticism during a Tuesday interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, Pence’s wife and daughter stressed the importance of religious tolerance.
“It’s interesting because this is one of the reasons that we wrote the book, because I think that this young generation may not know the liberties and freedoms that are protected in the United States—and one of them is religious liberty, the freedom of religion,” Karen began. “So, I think anyone in the country can believe, you know, really anything that they want to believe. You can have whatever faith that you want to follow.”