Pence on Buttigieg: 'He knows I don't have a problem with him'

Vice President Pence responded to criticism from 2020 White House hopeful Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg tweeted support for 'Medicare for All' in 2018 Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Democrats have reason to worry after the last presidential debate MORE (D) in an interview that aired on Friday, accusing the South Bend, Ind., mayor of ginning up a conflict for votes.

In an interview with CNN, Pence said that the mayor knew that Pence did not have a problem with him over his sexuality. Buttigieg is the first openly gay man to gain traction in a major party's primary race.

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"You know, I've known Mayor Pete for many years. We worked closely together when I was governor," Pence, who was governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017, told CNN's Dana Bash in the interview.

"I considered him a friend," Pence added. "He knows I don't have a problem with him."

"I don't believe in discrimination against anybody. I treat everybody how I want to be treated," the vice president continued. "The truth of it is, all of us have our own religious convictions. Pete has his convictions, I have mine."

Pence added that the mayor's quarrel was "with the First Amendment," adding: "All of us in this country have a right to our religious beliefs."

Buttigieg and Pence have recently traded blows in the press after the South Bend mayor accused Pence of holding his sexuality against him due to Pence's conservative Christian beliefs about homosexuality.

"Speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade," Buttigieg said on Sunday.

"And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand," he continued. "If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

Pence's office has accused the mayor of misrepresenting the vice president's views on homosexuality and circulated past praise of Buttigieg from Pence's time as governor earlier in the week.

“He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally. And he knows better. He knows me,” Pence added in an interview Thursday with CNBC.