Pete Buttigieg slams Pence for work with Trump, asks how he ‘became a cheerleader for the porn star presidency’

Pete Buttigieg, the little-known 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., said in an interview Sunday that Vice President Mike Pence has in effect become a "cheerleader for the porn star presidency" and questioned aloud when the former Indiana governor "stopped believing in scripture" and started to believe in Trump.

The "porn star" reference is an apparent shot at Trump’s alleged extra-marital affair with the former porn star Stormy Daniels, which the president has denied. Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake Tapper in Austin that Pence's "interpretation" of scripture is different from his.

"My understanding of scripture is that it's about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea," he said. "That's what I get in the gospel when I'm at church and his has a lot more to do with sexuality ... and a certain view of rectitude."

Buttigieg, who is in the second tier of Democratic candidates for president, is a Rhodes scholar who was first elected mayor of his hometown in 2011 at age 29, making him the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents. A lieutenant in the Navy Reserve, he served a tour in Afghanistan in 2014.

Buttigieg raised his national profile with an unsuccessful 2017 run for Democratic National Committee chairman, saying the party needed a new start. He withdrew from the race before a vote when it became clear he didn’t have the support to win.

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Amid his campaign for a second term, Buttigieg came out as gay in a column in the local newspaper. He went on to win re-election with 80 percent of the vote. In 2018, three years to the day after the column ran, he married his husband, middle school teacher Chasten Glezman.

The Associated Press contributed to this report