A senior White House aide pointed to Vice President Pence’s lunch Tuesday with the prime minister of Ireland and his male partner as proof that Pence is not “anti-gay.”
“For all of you who think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland,” deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere tweeted Monday night.
For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland. 🇮🇪 @merrionstreet pic.twitter.com/Cj5kMpln0U
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) September 3, 2019
The comment was ridiculed by LGBT advocates who argued that sharing one meal with a gay person does not make up for what they say is the vice president’s well-documented record speaking and working against LGBTQ rights.
“We can’t believe we have to say this but simply meeting with a gay person doesn’t erase Pence’s long history of attacking LGBTQ people through policy, legislation, and rhetoric,” the LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD tweeted. “Nice try though.”
The Human Rights Campaign said in a statement, “it’s important to remember this lunch has nothing to do with LGBTS rights it’s literally just with an LGBTQ person.”
Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, also fired back at Deere’s assertion.
“I’ve sat at tables with people who would gladly deny me the right to marry, who openly support conversion therapy, and who adamantly believe being gay is a choice. Doesn’t mean they’re any less homophobic because we shared a meal,” said Buttigieg.
Pete Buttigieg publicly quarreled with Pence, saying in April that his marriage moved him closer to God.
“That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me,” Buttigieg said. “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Pence, a conservative Christian, has argued previously that same-sex marriage is a sign of “societal collapse” and, as governor of Indiana, signed legislation that would allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against people based on their sexuality. Pence reversed course and signed an amended version after a nationwide outcry to the law. Pence has also opposed expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity, notes the Washington Post.
Twitter users mocked Deere over his argument:
Trump has eaten with Black people and is still racist; sohttps://t.co/6TYUStgSb5
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) September 3, 2019
Yeah, where would anyone get the idea that Mike Pence is anti-gay?
Other than his lifelong career of supporting discrimination against LGBT folks?
Trump: "Don't ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!"https://t.co/0e5htmMLRT
— Blue Bee (@Blue_Bee_pllntr) September 3, 2019
I point you, Judd, to everything he's basically every done. https://t.co/Ktd7N2gVQZ
— Jimmy St. Gall Ündesnii Baatar Stagger (@RadioStagger) September 3, 2019
Wow, he agreed to meet a head of state? Bar’s pretty low and he still supports discrimination. Tell me he supports marriage equality, then we’ll talk.
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) September 3, 2019
I can't believe you think this tweet bolsters your case. He was all for conversion therapy!?! C'mon!
— Willam (@willam) September 3, 2019
If meeting with someone proves you share their ideals, what are we to make of Trump's repeated meetings with Putin and Kim Jong-un?
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) September 3, 2019
This may be the dumbest tweet out of an already incredibly pathetic comms office.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) September 3, 2019