Vice President Mike Pence said Monday he encouraged Joy Behar in a private phone to call to publicly apologize for saying he had a "mental illness" due to his Christian faith, saying it wasn't about him but about millions of Christians who were offended by her comments.
Behar, a co-host on the ABC talk show "The View," said last month that Pence suffered from "mental illness" because he felt Jesus talked to him, as described by recently fired White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.
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Behar's comments drew outrage, and Pence slammed the sentiment as "just wrong." Behar initially defended the remarks as a joke on the show, but Disney CEO Bob Iger later revealed Behar telephoned Pence to apologize.
Fox News host Sean Hannity addressed the saga while interviewing Pence Monday night, asking Pence to describe Behar's phone call. Pence said his Christian faith was the most important thing in his life, and that like millions of other Americans, he and his wife spend parts of every day in prayer.
"When I heard that ABC had a program where my Christian faith had been described as a mental illness, I thought it was important for me to speak out," Pence said. "Not on my own behalf … I felt it was important that I defend the faith of tens of millions of Americans against that kind of slander, and I did so."
Pence said Behar was "very sincere" in her apology.
"I said to Joy, ‘Of course I forgive you. That's part of my faith experience,'" Pence said. "But I did encourage her, and I'm still encouraging her, to use the forum of that program or some other public forum to apologize to tens of millions of Americans who were equally offended by what she [said]."
Hannity said he wondered about the sincerity of Behar's contrition, since it was a shot against "anybody of faith."
"For me, it was never about me," Pence said. "I didn't take it personally."