The two-term South Bend, Ind. mayor, who called gay marriage "conservative" and something that "moves me closer to God" Tuesday, gained traction after he took a jab at Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, for becoming the "cheerleader of the porn star presidency" last month. And on Wednesday, he cast doubt about Trump's faith in God during an interview with USA Today.
“I'm reluctant to comment on another person's faith, but I would say it is hard to look at this president's actions and believe that they're the actions of somebody who believes in God,” Buttigieg said. “I just don't understand how you can be as worshipful of your own self as he is and be prepared to humble yourself before God. I've never seen him humble himself before anyone."
The Episcopalian mayor took the jab at Trump, who is a self-professed "Presbyterian Protestant," as other Democratic presidential candidates continue to make character an issue for the 2020 presidential election.
Buttigieg later defended his comments on "Good Morning America" when the host asked whether his comments were consistent with a call for "decency."
"I work very hard to make sure when we oppose this president we're not emulating him, but we do need to call out hypocrisy when we see it," he said.
Paula White, Trump's spiritual advisor and the pastor of a Florida megachurch, said she's seen the president's faith deepen in the Oval Office and that he prays every day in the White House.
Buttigieg, a 37-year-old veteran and two-term mayor, has enjoyed large crowds on the campaign trail, a blitz of media attention, and a surge in fundraising over the last month. He is expected to formally declare his candidacy for president at an event in South Bend on April 14.