Former vice president and notorious homophobe Mike Pence has been relentlessly heckled while trying to give a speech to religious conservatives.
On Friday (18 June), Pence spoke at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Orlando, Florida, which describes itself as “the nation’s premier pro-faith, pro-family event”.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition is run by Ralph Reed, who is staunchly anti-LGBT+, believes any presidential candidate who supports same-sex marriage is “unacceptable” and thinks trans representation is an “infiltration of promiscuity and sin”.
With his long history of opposing LGBT+ rights, Pence likely thought he would be among friends at the coalition’s Road to Majority event, but during his speech, the audience actually tried to boo him off stage.
The heckling was likely related to Pence’s ceremonial role in certifying Joe Biden’s election victory, shortly after Donald Trump incited the storming of the US Capitol in January, 2021. During the riots, extremists even chanted the words: “Hang Mike Pence.”
Although Pence tried to suck up to Trump in his speech, claiming that the former president showed “what Republicans can accomplish when we stand firm on conservative principles and don’t back down”, at least one audience member had to be escorted out by security and several more repeatedly yelled the words “traitor” and “freedom”, according to the BBC.
Pence tried to get the Christian conservatives on side by setting out a “winning agenda” to take back a Republican majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives, and by slamming president Biden: “It’s amazing to think in 2020 Joe Biden actually campaigned as a moderate and he’s governed as one of the most liberal presidents in history.”
This didn’t appear to work, as commenters on the organisation’s Facebook page after the event continued to call Pence a “traitor”, with others insisting they didn’t “even want to look at him”.
But the Faith and Freedom Coalition actually defended the heckling, writing on social media: “This is the America we’re fighting for – one where people have a voice and the freedom to stand for what they believe.
“We don’t always see eye to eye but we believe in freedom.”
Watch: Mike Pence heckled at faith conference - 'Traitor'