Pete Buttigieg spun an attack by Tucker Carlson into an opportunity to promote paid parental leave, refusing to “apologize” to the host for taking paternity leave to care for two children he adopted with his husband, Chasten Buttigieg.
The Fox News host made homophobic comments while attacking the transportation secretary last week for taking leave he is entitled to as an employee of the federal government. “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went,” Carlson said on his Thursday night show.
“As you might imagine, we’re bottle-feeding and doing it at all hours of the day and night,” Buttigieg told Jake Tapper on State of the Union responding to the comments. “And I’m not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn infant twins. The work that we are doing is joyful, fulfilling, wonderful work. It’s important work, and it’s work that every American ought to be able to do when they welcome a new child into their family. I campaigned on that.”
Jake Tapper asks Pete Buttigieg to respond to paternity leave criticism.
"As you might imagine, we are bottle feeding and doing it at all hours of the day and night. I’m not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of our premature newborn twins." pic.twitter.com/8cxU4X1x1e
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 17, 2021
Buttigieg then pointed out that one of the provisions in Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which is currently being debated in Congress, would provide paid family leave. “The Build Back Better agenda includes provisions for paid family leave. And, by the way, we’re pretty much the only country left that doesn’t have some kind of national policy for paid leave,” he said.
“I think it’s down to us and Papua New Guinea,” he added. “It is long past time to make it possible for every American mother and father to take care of their children when a new child arrives in the family.”
It’s true. A 2014 report from the United Nations’ International Labor Organization found that out of 170 member nations, only the U.S. and Papua New Guinea were the only countries that did not financially compensate women during maternity leave, and the U.S. offered the least amount of mandatory time off with 12 weeks. Many countries, including Japan, Bulgaria, Austria, Norway, Estonia and Slovenia, give more than a year’s worth of paid family leave.
Buttigieg also addressed Carlson’s offensive breastfeeding remark, saying on MSNBC Saturday, “Look, in his case, I guess he just doesn’t understand the concept of bottle feeding, let alone the concept of paternity leave. But what’s really strange is that, you know, this is from a side of the aisle that used to claim the mantle of being pro-family.”