The one-sided Pete Buttigieg-Mike Pence feud is undoubtedly contrived for political effect, but is it a Jussie Smollett-scale hoax? US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell rode to the vice-president’s defense late yesterday, telling Fox’s Martha McCallum that “Mayor Pete stayed silent” about all of this for several years before Buttigieg needed presidential campaign funds. The Pences “don’t have hate in their heart[s] for anyone,” Grenell says, but he’s worried that the gay community that he represents might be leaning in that direction:

“Mayor Pete has been pushing this hate hoax along the lines of Jussie Smollett for a very long time now, several weeks,” Grenell, who is openly gay, said Thursday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.” …

“It’s ironic that right about now when he’s starting his fund-raising apparatus to run for president that he comes up with this… idea and this attack,” Grenell said.

The ambassador defended Pence and his wife, cited their Christianity and said the couple “accepted” Grendell and his partner.

“Mike and Karen are great people, they’re godly people, they’re followers of Christ. They don’t have hate in their heart for anyone. They know my partner, they have accepted us. You asked me do we agree philosophically on every single issue? No,” Grendell said adding that he disagrees with other people he respects.

Later, Grenell reminded everyone about Pence’s stand on equal access:

Grenell wondered where all the calls for tolerance from the gay community have gone. Grenell, himself in a same-sex marriage, laments that their goals used to be tolerance. That doesn’t mean enforcing sameness on everyone, Grenell argues, noting that he disagrees with people he admires but doesn’t expect them to conform to his point of view. “We were the ones saying everyone should be able to accept and love each other,” Grenell recalls. “Now, suddenly, there’s a whole community of people who are demanding that we all think alike. I think it’s outrageous.”

Grenell’s correct that tolerance has gone from its original meaning to an Orwellian term on the Left for enforcing groupthink and silencing any dissent. Comparing that to Smollett’s hoax is hyperbolic and a little off that point anyway, but Grenell’s correct that Buttigieg is being both dishonest and demagogic with this contrived “feud.” Pence and Buttigieg certainly have different ideas about public policy, but only one of them wants to make it personal and only one of them wants to shut down debate over it. Buttigieg might have a legit gripe about Grenell’s hyperbole, but he can’t raise it without addressing his own.