Pete Buttigieg has revealed how he channeled his “inner Mike Pence” while helping Kamala Harris prepare for the vice-presidential debate.
In a strange twist of fate, the gay former presidential candidate has been role-playing as Pence in mock debates with Harris to help her practise.
Appearing in an MNBC segment ahead of the big showdown on Wednesday evening, Pete Buttigieg was asked by Rachel Maddow to describe his process for “channeling your inner Mike Pence” – and the gay former presidential candidate gave a tantalising glimpse.
“A lot of it’s been about anticipating things that might happen, and as we saw in 2016, Mike Pence is someone who is comfortable saying things that are utterly false with a completely straight face,” Buttigieg said.
“It’s one of the reasons that he’s actually a very effective debater. And we wanted to make sure that we’re prepared for that.”
He added that Pence delivers mistruths in a “more soothing much more calming way than Donald Trump but still putting out those same falsehoods.”
Though the idea of Buttigieg impersonating Pence may seem bizarre, in some ways it’s the perfect casting as the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana has a long history with Pence, who served as governor of Indiana before becoming vice president.
And he repeatedly crossed swords with Pence during his Democratic primary campaign – with the vice president posting a smiling selfie alongside a pastor who had called for Buttigieg to “repent” his sexuality.
Buttigieg suggested he’d grown closer to Harris over their mock debates together.
“My respect for Kamala Harris only grew during the time that we were competing and only more so now,” he said.
“She has such a command of the facts and the American people really are with us, but that doesn’t mean that tonight’s debate is going to be an easy task.”