Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, is coming to Vice President Mike Pence’s defense after Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has repeatedly cast aspersions toward the conservative Christian politician over his religious opposition to same-sex marriage.
Grenell, who, like Buttigieg, is openly gay, accused the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on Thursday of launching a “hate hoax” as a way to drum up attention for his nascent presidential bid.
“I find it really ironic that Mayor Pete stayed silent about this so-called hate hoax on him and others during 2015, 2016, 2017 when Mike Pence was governor [of Indiana],” Grenell told Fox News host Martha MacCallum. “There was total silence. It’s ironic that right about now when he’s starting his fund-raising apparatus to run for president that he comes up with this idea and this attack.”
Grenell then went on to explain that adults of good will can peacefully disagree with one another over serious issues, like sexuality.
He told MacCallum, “Mike and [second lady] Karen are great people. They are godly people. They’re followers of Christ. They don’t have hate in their heart for anyone. They know my partner; they have accepted us. You ask me do we agree philosophically on every single issue? No.”
The ambassador, a personal friend of the Pences, went on to say he doesn’t wholly agree with his own theological hero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or even his partner, Matt Lashey.
Grenell lamented the fact so many in the LGBTQ community are now sidelining “tolerance and diversity” and instead “demanding that we all think alike.”
“I think it’s outrageous, and let me say one more thing,” he added. “When Mayor Pete came out, the vice president complimented him and said he holds him in high regard. The vice president or then-governor has said nothing but positive things about Mayor Pete. I think this is a total hate hoax and I think it’s outrageous.”
Grenell was referencing the fact that, when Buttigieg came out as gay in 2015, Pence, who was governor at the time, responded by saying he holds the mayor in “the highest personal regard,” noting he has a “great working relationship” with Buttigieg, whom he described as a “dedicated public servant and a patriot.”