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Tucker Carlson Mocks Buttigieg Over Paternity Leave

Transportation secretary back on the job after time off for new twins
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2021 2:57 PM CDT
Buttigieg's Paternity Leave Doesn't Sit Well on the Right
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg arrives to attend an event on the global supply chain bottlenecks during in the East Room of the White House Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Pete Buttigieg is typically one of the most visible of President Biden's Cabinet members in regard to TV appearances and the like. However, the transportation secretary has been keeping an uncharacteristically low profile of late, and Politico just revealed why: He went on paid paternity leave in August after he and husband Chasten welcomed newborn twins.

  • The leave: “For the first four weeks, he was mostly offline except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated,” says a department spokesperson. "He has been ramping up activities since then.” Politico notes that as of last week, Buttigieg has again been making a slew of TV appearances, particularly to address the ongoing supply-chain trouble at US ports.

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  • Tucker Carlson: The Fox News host ridiculed the leave on his show Thursday night. "Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child," he said, per this tweeted video. "Paternity leave, they call it. Trying to figure out how to breastfeed—no word on how that went." Carlson wasn't alone in his criticism. The headline at conservative Red State reads, "Pete Buttigieg Returns to D.C. From Playing House, and Is About as Useful as When He Wasn't Here."
  • More criticism: GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee also lit into the leave. "We’re in the middle of a transportation crisis, and Pete Buttigieg is sitting at home," she told Breitbart. "Meanwhile, cargo boats are unable to dock and shelves are sitting empty. Pete needs to either get back to work or leave the Department of Transportation. It’s time to put American families first."
  • Pushback: A White House official made a point to say that the "supply chain mess" was "inherited" from the previous administration and that it's being addressed. Press secretary Jenn Psaki tweeted that she was "proud to work in an Administration that is fighting to make paid leave a reality for everyone, and with people like @SecretaryPete who are role models on the importance of paid leave for new parents."
  • Pushback, II: "Tucker belittles a Navy vet for being a good dad, throwing not-so-thinly veiled homophobic jabs, and lying through his teeth about current affairs,” tweeted the progressive political action committee Vote Vets in regard to Carlson. The White House retweeted it, notes the Hill. The same outlet points out that some of Carlson's male colleagues, including Jesse Watters and Todd Piro, have taken advantage of the Fox's paternity leave policy and publicly praised it.
(Read more Pete Buttigieg stories.)

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