Pete Buttigieg, the Indiana Democrat waging a long-shot 2020 bid for the presidency, explained why he has called into question President Donald Trump ‘s Christianity.
Buttigieg, a gay Episcopalian who has been outspoken about his progressive Christian values, has been critical of the ways in which Trump and Vice President Mike Pence show their faith.
In a USA Today interview published Wednesday, Buttigieg said it is hard for him to look at the actions of Trump, a professed Presbyterian, and “believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God.”
“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,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said in the interview. “I’ve never seen him humble himself before anyone.”
Buttigieg also has questioned how Pence, who calls himself an ” evangelical Catholic, ” allowed himself to become a “cheerleader of the porn-star presidency.”
“Is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing in Trump?” Buttigieg said at a CNN town hall in March.
On ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, host George Stephanopoulos pushed back on the criticism Buttigieg has been doling out, asking if it aligns with Buttigieg’s calls for “decency” in politics.
In response, Buttigieg explained that he believes it’s important to “call out hypocrisy when we see it.”
“When you have somebody seeming to want to impose his religion on others, as the vice president has, and at the same time teaming up with a presidency that seems to have no regard for at least what I would consider to be Christian values, I do think that hypocrisy needs to be called out.”
He added: “It needs to be called out forcefully, but we need to be factual. We need to be honest and we do, in resolving all of this disagreement, need to be decent as well.”
Watch Buttigieg’s “Good Morning America” appearance below.
Buttigieg, whose parents didn’t go to church regularly, said he was drawn back to Christianity while attending Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, according to an interview with The Washington Post. He now attends an Episcopal church in South Bend.
He claims he’s inspired by progressive faith leaders on the “religious left” who are motivated by Christian social justice teachings ― people like the Rev. William J. Barber II, a longtime civil rights advocate.
“When I think about where most of Scripture points me, it is toward defending the poor, and the immigrant, and the stranger, and the prisoner, and the outcast, and those who are left behind by the way society works,” Buttigieg said in the interview with USA Today. “And what we have now is this exaltation of wealth and power, almost for its own sake, that in my reading of Scripture couldn’t be more contrary to the message of Christianity.”