Michael Brochstein | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images
Pete Buttigieg (D), Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, seen speaking at the National Action Network National (NAN) convention in New York City, NY.
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, continuing his war-of-words with fellow Hoosier Vice President Mike Pence, said Thursday that Pence could “clear this up” by taking a broad stance against discrimination.
“I’m not interested in feuding with the vice president,” Buttigieg told Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
“But if he wanted to clear this up, he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are. That’s all.”
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, worked closely with Pence while Pence was governor of the state. Since formally announcing his exploratory committee in late January, Buttigieg has rocketed to the upper tier of the Democratic presidential primary, a contest that could make the Christian mayor the first openly gay major party nominee.
The spat between him and the vice president began last weekend when Buttigieg critiqued Pence’s record on LGBT equality during an event hosted by an activist group, and escalated on Wednesday when the vice president accused Buttigieg of attacking his Christian faith during an interview on CNBC.
“I’m not critical of his faith. I’m critical of bad policies,” Buttigieg said Thursday. “I don’t have a problem with religion. I’m religious too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community.”
In an interview with CNN that aired on Friday, Pence said that he considered Buttigieg a friend, and didn’t “believe in discrimination against anybody. I treat everybody the way I want to be treated.”
“Pete has his convictions, I have mine,” Pence said.
Pence has long faced criticism from LGBT activists for his opposition to gay marriage and his support for legislation that his critics said targeted gays and lesbians. Pence has noted that as governor, he worked to implement the Supreme Court decision that made gay marriage the law of the land.