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Buttigieg Gets Raucous Applause on CNN for Refusing to Answer Criticism From U.S. Ambassador Rick Grennell

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg drew loud applause at his CNN town hall Monday night when he refused to respond to criticism from United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

Grenell, who is openly gay, slammed Buttigieg in an appearance on Fox News last week for the South Bend mayor’s war of words with Vice President Mike Pence over same sex rights.

“Mayor Peter has been pushing this hate hoax, along the lines of Jussie Smollett, for a very long time now, several weeks,” Grenell said on Fox. “And I find it really ironic that Mayor Pete stayed silent about the so-called hate hoax on him and others during 2015, 2016, 2017 when Mike Pence was governor.”

“There was total silence. It’s ironic that right about now when he’s starting his fundraising apparatus to run for president that he comes up with this idea and this attack.”

Grenell added that he is friends with Pence, and that the vice president “doesn’t have hate” in his heart.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Buttigieg about that criticism from the U.S. ambassador, and Buttigieg provided a brief response.

“I’m not a master fisherman, but I know bait when I see it, and I’m not going to take it,” he said.

That line drew applause from the town hall crowd, and Cooper moved on to the next question.

Watch above, via CNN.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Managing Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin