At a CNN town hall Thursday night, Pete Buttigieg condemned President Trump for his comments earlier that day at the National Prayer Breakfast, saying the president has “a very different take on faith than I do.”
CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Butttigieg how he felt about Trump “mocking” the idea that some people use their faith to guide their politics.
“I mean, especially for a president who tries to cloak himself in religion, and tell believers that they somehow have to vote for him, have to vote Republican,” Buttigieg said. “I guess he just has a very different take on faith than I do, because I’m pretty sure that there’s a whole lot of scripture about the dangers of pride and arrogance and the importance of humility.”
Buttigieg later added that he “can’t imagine” why anyone of faith would be “anywhere near” Trump or “what the Republican party has become.”
At the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning, Trump seemingly took a jab at Sen. Mitt Romney, R.-Utah, for his outlier vote in the Senate impeachment trial.
“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Trump said, and added, in a another apparent hit at Pelosi, “nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so.”
Romney voted to convict Trump on one of two articles of impeachment — abuse of power — making him the first lawmaker in history to cross party lines in an impeachment trial debating removing a president of his own political party.
In a speech before the Senate floor Wednesday, Romney said his faith led him to the decision.
“I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential,” he said. “I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong.”
Romney told Fox News he “had to follow” his “conscience” in his vote.
At the town hall, Buttigieg continued to denounce the president’s comments, given the faith-based setting.
“To see the way he conducted himself at a function whose purpose is to call us to our highest values is just a radically different way of dealing with faith than most believers that I know,” said the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.
“If you belong to a faith tradition that tells you that so much depends on how we make ourselves useful to those who are marginalized and oppressed, that so much depends on how we work to comfort the afflicted, and that so much depends on seeking leaders who walk in the way of humility and decency, I can’t imagine that requires you to be anywhere near this president or what the Republican party has become,” Buttigieg concluded.
Romney’s vote to impeach caused rifts not only between him and the president but also with much of the Republican party at large. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) made clear on Friday that Romney would not be welcome at the conference in February.
“Your religion is clouding your thinking here,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., said to Romney on Fox News Thursday, before adding that he “always liked” Romney.
“All I can tell you is that God gave us free will and common sense. I used the common sense that God gave me to understand this is a bunch of BS,” Graham said.