Buttigieg suggests Pence offered him empty praise

Vice President Mike Pence has yet to respond publicly to Pete Buttigieg’s ongoing criticism of him. But on Tuesday, Pence’s wife suggested the South Bend, Ind., mayor is manufacturing a feud to boost his 2020 Democratic presidential bid.

“It’s funny because I don’t think the vice president does have a problem with him,” Karen Pence said on Brian Kilmeade’s radio show. “But I think it’s helping Pete to get some notoriety by saying that about the vice president.”

“I think in our country we need to understand you shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are," she said. "And I think kids need to learn that at a young age that this is OK, what faith people have. We don’t attack them for their faith.”

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Vice President Mike Pence is sworn in as his wife Karen Pence watches during inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017.

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Karen Pence, wife of Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence, speaks to supporters during a campaign event November 3, 2016 in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, campaigned for her husband, five days before the nation pick her next president.

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte, visit the former German Nazi concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, Germany February 19, 2017.

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U.S. President Donald Trump with his wife Melania and Vice President Mike Pence with his wife Karen cut a cake at the Armed Services Ball in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017.

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Indiana governor Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence attends the 2014 IPL 500 Festival Parade during the 2014 Indy 500 Festival at on May 24, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence with his wife Karen waves at a Liberty Ball in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017.

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Karen Pence (L), wife of Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee Governor Mike Pence (L), talks with Tiffany (C) and Ivanka Trump before the arrival of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 20, 2016.

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Mike Pence is sworn in as U.S. Vice President as his wife Karen holds a bible during inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017.

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden meet with Vice President elect Mike Pence and Karen Pence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2016.

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Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife Karen greet supporters during a rally for Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016.

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U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence with his wife Karen enters the floor to dance at Indiana Society Ball in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2017.

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Karen Pence, wife of Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate Governor Mike Pence, waves to other attendees shortly after arriving for the vice presidential debate between her husband and Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, U.S., October 4, 2016.

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Melania Trump, wife to the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, and Karen Pence, wife of Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, hold an event at Main Line Sports Centre in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 3, 2016.

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U.S. Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence arrive at U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump?s election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 8, 2016.

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Anne Holton (L), wife of Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (L), shakes hands with Karen Pence, wife of Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, ahead of the start of their vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, U.S., October 4, 2016.

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Karen Pence, wife of Republican vice presidential nominee Indiana Governor Mike Pence, gestures after her introduction at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016.

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the GOP Vice Presidential candidate, greet the crowd along with his wife Karen during a town hall meeting at the Mile High Station August 03, 2016.

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In a speech Sunday, Buttigieg, who is openly gay and a devout Roman Catholic, said that he wishes the “Mike Pences” of the world would understand that he didn’t chose his sexuality.

“If you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me,” Buttigieg said. “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Alyssa Farah, the vice president’s spokeswoman, pointed out that Pence, as Indiana governor, responded to the mayor’s coming out in 2015 by saying he holds Buttigieg “in the highest personal regard.”

“I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot,” Pence said at the time.

“I’m just like, ‘Pete, did you not like that?’ because that’s what the vice president said about him,” Karen Pence told Kilmeade. “So what’s the problem with that?”

In a tweet Tuesday night, Buttigieg suggested it was empty praise.

During a CNN town hall in March, Buttigieg railed against Pence, who he accused of abandoning his religious conservative ideals to become Donald Trump’s right-hand man.

“How could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn-star presidency?” Buttigieg wondered aloud. “Is it that he stopped believing in Scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don’t know.”

Buttigieg has made similar comments about evangelical voters who support Trump.

“It’s something that really frustrates me because the hypocrisy is unbelievable,” Buttigieg said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “Here you have somebody who not only acts in a way that is not consistent with anything that I hear in scripture in church.”

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