Former Vice President Mike Pence is facing criticism from the White House after he joked about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s parental leave and postpartum depression.
Pence made the remarks at the Gridiron Club’s annual dinner on Saturday night. The former vice president joked that Buttigieg’s two months of “maternity leave” with her husband to adopt newborn twins in 2021 caused a nationwide transportation crisis last year, The Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, Pence said, “When Pete’s two children were born, she took a two-month maternity leave, which left thousands of travelers stranded at airports, air traffic shutdowns, and planes nearly hitting our runways.” Went.”
Pence said, “Pete is the only person in human history who has children and everyone else has postpartum depression.”
The White House strongly condemned Pence’s remarks in a statement on Monday.
“The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, as was his treatment of women with postpartum depression as a punchline,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. statement,
“He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” she added.
Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, rebuked Pence in a tweet on Monday that included a photo of the transportation secretary holding one of their newborns in the hospital.
Pence has not publicly responded to criticism of his remarks at the dinner. His former chief of staff, Mark Short, rejected White House demands for an apology from the former vice president.
“The Biden Administration Must Protect America From Fake Outrage,” Brief Tweeted Monday afternoon.
Blinken, who is Jewish and the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, “joked that he longed for the ‘old days,'” referring to comments Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly made at the dinner. lived when ‘the Jews did all the work.
Short said, “The White House would be wise to focus less on vigilante police and more on bank failures, planes nearly colliding in mid-air, train derailments and the continuing supply chain crisis.” “
Buttigieg has been a vocal critic of Pence’s cultural and religious conservatism since his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Pence, a former Indiana governor, overlapped in state politics for four years. They had cordial relations at that time, due to their cooperation on issues of economic development in the state.
But in his campaign memoir, Buttigieg described his relationship with Pence as “complicated” as the gay mayor began to emerge as an iconic voice for LGBTQ equality and religious tolerance on the campaign trail.
In an interview with CNBC in 2019, Pence said they had a “great working relationship” and criticized Meyer’s characterization of her religious beliefs.
“He knows better,” Pence said in 2019. “He knows me.”