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Former Vice President Mike Pence Under Fire for Joke about Transportation Secretary Buttigieg at Gridiron Dinner

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Former Vice President Mike Pence is under fire for a joke he made about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C. Over the weekend, Pence joked that Buttigieg, who is gay, "took maternity leave" after he and his husband adopted twins in 2021.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the joke "homophobic," "offensive," and "inappropriate" and demanded an apology from Pence "to women and LGBTQ people." However, a spokesman for Pence, Marc Short, hit back at Jean-Pierre's comments, saying that the Biden administration should "spare America the faux outrage." Short also pointed out the hypocrisy of the situation, highlighting a joke made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the "old days" when "Jews did all the work."

Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates also responded to Short's comments, citing the Trump-Pence administration's opposition to abortion and their role in the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

The Gridiron Dinner is a traditionally humorous white-tie event attended by politicians and journalists. Each year, representatives from the Republican, Democratic, and presidential administrations are invited to deliver humorous speeches. In addition to Pence's joke about Buttigieg, he also took the opportunity to call out former President Donald Trump for his handling of the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

"President Trump was wrong," Pence said. "I had no right to overturn the election."

Joining Pence at the event were New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who represented Democrats, and Blinken, who represented the Biden administration. All three men delivered jokes intended to be humorous, with Murphy poking fun at New Jersey's reputation and Blinken quipping about his love for classical music.

While humor is often a part of politics, some have criticized Pence's joke about Buttigieg as insensitive and hurtful. However, others have defended the former vice president, saying that the joke was harmless and that Buttigieg himself has a sense of humor.

In a statement to the media, Buttigieg said that he did not take offense to the joke and that he and Pence have a "cordial" relationship. He also said that the birth of his children was a "joyous moment" for him and his husband.

Overall, the controversy surrounding Pence's joke at the Gridiron Dinner highlights the ongoing debate about what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to humor and politics. While some believe that jokes should be off-limits when they could be seen as hurtful or insensitive, others argue that political correctness has gone too far and that people need to be able to laugh at themselves and others. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how politicians and the public will navigate these tricky waters.

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