Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday night doubled down on a widely criticized joke he told about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the white-tie Gridiron Dinner last weekend.
“The Gridiron Dinner is a roast. I had a lot of jokes directed to me, and I directed a lot of jokes to Republicans and Democrats,” Pence told reporters at a Cheshire County GOP event in New Hampshire, according to the Associated Press.
“The only thing I can figure is Pete Buttigieg not only can’t do his job, but he can’t take a joke,” Pence added.
At the Gridiron dinner, Pence mocked Buttigieg for taking parental leave ― which the former vice president called “maternity leave” ― in 2021 after the transportation secretary and husband Chasten adopted newborn twins.
“Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression,” said Pence, referring to flight, travel and supply chain disruptions.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called Pence’s comments “offensive and inappropriate,” saying he “should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Chasten Buttigieg, meanwhile, fired back with a photo of his husband at the hospital as their children were treated for respiratory viruses.
“If your grandchild was born prematurely and placed on a ventilator at two months old—their tiny fingers wrapped around yours as the monitors beep in the background—where would you be?” he asked Pence.
On “The View” Tuesday, Chasten Buttigieg further explained: “I spoke up because we all have an obligation to hold people accountable for when they say something wrong, especially when it’s misogynistic, especially when it’s homophobic, and I just don’t take that when it’s towards my family, and I don’t think anyone else would, especially when you bring a very small, medically-fragile child into it.”
“He says he’s a family-values Republican. So I don’t think he’s practicing what he preaches here,” Chasten Buttigieg added of Pence.