South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg isn’t holding back when it comes to criticism of Vice President Mike Pence.
While many 2020 candidates have directed their attention primarily toward President Donald Trump, Buttigieg has used his familiarity with Pence to take on the current administration. The vice president had previously served as governor of Indiana during part of Buttigieg’s time as mayor in South Bend.
Buttigieg hasn’t shied away from Pence, calling the vice president a “fanatic” earlier this week and writing at length in his new book about the complex relationship the two shared in Indiana and how it devolved after Pence signed the state’s much-criticized “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” into law in 2015.
Buttigieg expanded on his “fanatic” comment during a Thursday appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” saying that Pence “embarrassed” the state:
“I mean that he genuinely believes things that most of us would consider really far out. I mean, he’s written that he thinks that cigarettes don’t kill. He seems to believe people like me just get up and decide to be gay. His worldview is one that is way out of step with the American mainstream, and we saw that in Indiana when he really embarrassed our state with policies that both Democrats and Republicans, in not just the political world but the business community, stepped up and said, ‘Hey, you’re making us look like a backwards place at just the moment we’re trying to advance.'”
“And, unfortunately, he now has a national stage for some of those fanatical social idea,” Buttigieg added.
Before ending the interview, host John Berman asked Buttigieg about the historic implications of his candidacy, as he is the first openly gay major party candidate for president.
But while Buttigieg acknowledged the “historic quality” to his candidacy, he made clear he’s focused solely on presenting himself as the best candidate for the job, adding that he’s learned that most voters “just care if you’re going to do a good job or not.”
“I really just want to be evaluated for the ideas I bring to the table,” he said.
Watch the video below, via CNN:
Indiana Mayor @PeteButtigieg says VP Pence “embarrassed” the state: “He seems to believe people like me just get up and decide to be gay. His worldview is one that is way out of step with the American mainstream.” https://t.co/FSj0j6Xvqq pic.twitter.com/zgzpwN9U4t
— New Day (@NewDay) February 14, 2019