The highest-profile openly gay person in the Trump administration compared gay presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg to Jussie Smollett.
In the interview on Fox News earlier this week (18 April), Richard Grenell also defended his ‘friend’ Vice President Mike Pence. A VP with a notorious record on LGBTI rights.
Pence swore in Grenell as US ambassador to Germany last year, making Grenell the highest-ranking openly gay official ever in a Republican administration, the New York Post reported.
What did he say?
Speaking to Martha MacCallum on The Story segment, Grenell brought up the divide between Pence and Buttigieg, comparing the latter to Jussie Smollett.
Smollett became front and centre of a media firestorm this year when he reported he was the victim of a hate crime.
But as police cast doubts and evidence mounted, the actor was charged with 16 felony accounts.
While Buttigieg has been a vocal critic of Pence, who this month slammed the VP for having a ‘problem’ with his sexuality.
‘Mayor Pete has been pushing this hate hoax, along the lines of Jussie Smollett, for a very long time now, several weeks,’ Grenell said.
‘A total hate hoax’
Grenell added: ‘I find it really ironic that Mayor Pete stayed silent about the so-called hate hoax on him and others during 2015, 2016, 2017, when Mike Pence was governor.’
‘There was total silence. It’s ironic that right about now when he’s starting his fundraising apparatus to run for president that he comes up with this idea and this attack.’
Here, Grenell is alluding to when Buttigieg came out as gay in 2015. While Buttigieg claims the then governor Pence was negative about it, Grenell said this was a ‘hate hoax.’
Instead, the ambassador alleged the VP ‘complimented’ Buttigieg ‘and said he holds him in high regard.
‘I think this is a total hate hoax and I think it’s dangerous.’
‘A friend of mine’
The Republican went onto defend Pence, a ‘friend’ of his. This is despite the VP’s record against the LGBTI community on all fronts.
‘One of the things that really bothers me about this attack is that Mike Pence is a friend of mine,’ he continued.
‘Mike and Karen are great people, they’re 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.’
Moreover, he slammed the LGBTI community as ‘people demanding we all think alike.
Who is Pete Buttigieg?
Buttigieg, the openly gay, multilingual mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the upstart the Democrats didn’t see coming.
The 37-year-old has arguably vaulted himself into a large – and growing – field of blue tie-wearing politicians all vying to take on President Donald Trump, 72
He’s a big fan of universal healthcare, universal background checks for firearm purchases, and pro-environment policies that tackle climate change.