Buttigieg: Pence 'embarrassed' Indiana and is 'way out of step with the American mainstream'

Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Ind., who last month set up a presidential exploratory committee, excoriated Vice President Pence over several conservative social policies he says “embarrassed” the state when he was governor.

“I mean that he genuinely believes things that most of us would consider really far out,” Buttigieg, who would be a major party’s first openly gay candidate if he decides to run, said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day.”

“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," he continued, "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 in just the moment we’re trying to advance.’ And unfortunately he now has a national stage for some of those fanatical social ideas.”


Pence, who has called himself an “evangelical Catholic,” has staked out several staunchly conservative social views. He signed into state law the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which declared the government could not infringe on a person’s ability to practice their religion. However, critics slammed the legislation as giving businesses cover to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

Noting the contrast his campaign would to Pence’s platform, Buttigieg said he recognizes his candidacy would be historic but hopes to be judged on his policies.

“I recognize that there’s a historic quality to this candidacy if and when we run,” he said. “But what I learned in the process in South Bend, when I got reelected with 80 percent of the vote, is most people just care if you’re going to do a good job or not. That’s true of mayors, I hope that’s true of presidents, and I really just want to be evaluated for the ideas I bring to the table.”

Should Buttigieg ultimately decide to run in 2020, he would be joining what is expected to be the most crowded primary field in modern history, with almost every candidate seeking to portray themselves as staunch opponents of the Trump administration.

Several high-profile Democrats have already announced their candidacies, with many more expected to come. Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThere's still time to put Kamala Harris front and center Hillicon Valley: Biden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked | Majority of voters in three swing states saw ads on social media questioning election validity: poll | Harris more often the target of online misinformation The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Pollsters stir debate over Trump numbers MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren has expressed interest in being Biden's Treasury secretary: report The Democrats' 50 state strategy never reached rural America What a Biden administration should look like MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOcasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' Internal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter's handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns | FCC to move forward with considering order targeting tech's liability shield | YouTube expands polices to tackle QAnon MORE (D-N.Y.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (D-N.J.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharFederal appeals court rules Minnesota must separate late-arriving mail-in ballots Trump announces intention to nominate two individuals to serve as FEC members Start focusing on veterans' health before they enlist MORE (D-Minn.) — and more — have already announced their presidential bids, with heavyweights such as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll Ivanka Trump raises million in a week for father's campaign On The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTlaib, Ocasio-Cortez offer bill to create national public banking system Cutting defense spending by 10 percent would debilitate America's military The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Election night could be a bit messy MORE (I-Vt.) waiting in the wings.