In an attempt to highlight his “humor” in advance of his possible 2024 presidential run, former Vice President and former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) mocked out Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg with several anti-gay quips.
Pence headlined the Gridiron Club dinner in D.C. this past Saturday, and joked that his pronouns are “thou” and “thine.”
Then he said that Buttigieg “took maternity leave” in 2021 when Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten Buttigieg had twins and he made a crack about the country going through postpartum depression as a result.
Politico reports that Pence’s advisers think this speech will highlight Pence’s humor, something that can counteract his reputation as “a humorless conservative scold” who refuses to eat in the same room alone with a woman who isn’t his wife, who he is rumored to refer to as “mother.”
Or, as Stephen Colbert once put it: “He is a manila envelope taped to a beige wall.”
But these jokes might not be enough to save his reputation as a humorist. The “my pronouns are [insert random conservative cultural totem]” joke has been done to death. Even his joke about fellow Hoosier Buttigieg going on “maternity leave” – because he’s gay, get it? Get it? – was done earlier by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and even The National Review.
Pence says that he started using humor to get people to like him as far back as high school.
“I tried to get people to like me or pay attention to me by goofing off and joking around,” Pence wrote in his 2022 book So Help Me God. “It was just a mask.”
He wrote comic strips in high school and later in law school. In one of his comics from 1976, one male character says that he “tried out for the girl’s swim team” because of “women’s lib and everything going around.” When asked if he made the team, he said he couldn’t fit into the swimsuit.
“Leafing through Pence’s cartoons, one could come away with the impression that the cartoons sustained him during a difficult time in his life,” Politico noted.
“I think he used humor very well in high school and in college and beyond,” former Republican Indiana lawmaker and longtime friend Mike Murphy said.