Pence called homophobic for joking about Buttigieg 'maternity' leave

By Jen Krausz on
 March 15, 2023

Let's be real: Democrats always thought former Vice President Mike Pence (R) was homophobic, he handed them all the "proof" they needed at a speech before journalists and politicians at the Gridiron Club dinner over the weekend.

“He took two months ‘maternity’ leave whereupon thousands of travelers were stranded in airports, the air traffic system shut down, and airplanes nearly collided on our runways. Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression,” Pence said.

But the White House did not find Pence's joke at all funny.

“The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, all the more so because he treated women suffering from postpartum depression as a punchline,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Pence's reference to "maternity" leave instead of "paternity" leave is what got him in trouble. Buttigieg and his husband adopted twins that were born prematurely and, unlike most White House cabinet members, decided to take parental leave.

During his leave, there was a supply chain crisis and major flight disruptions that he was not around to do anything about, which earned him criticism at the time.