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Buttigieg defiant over being called out for paternity leave amid supply crisis: ‘I’m not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson’

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday he won’t “apologize” to Fox News host Tucker Carlson for taking paternity leave to care for two newborns he and husband Chasten adopted in August, even as a burgeoning supply chain problem was rising to crisis levels.

“As you might imagine, we’re bottle-feeding and doing it at all hours of the day and night,” he said after being asked to respond to Carlson’s remarks on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“And I’m not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn, infant twins,” Buttigieg told Jake Tapper.

“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,” added Buttigieg, who ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination but eventually lost out to then-fellow candidate Joe Biden.

Carlson ribbed Buttigieg for taking months’ worth of paternity leave as the supply chain crisis worsened, joking during a segment last week that the Transportation secretary was “trying to learn how to breastfeed.”

“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. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary, and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country,” Carlson said.

Previously, Buttigieg — who had been out of public view for weeks on end — clapped back at Carlson during an interview on MSNBC, saying, “what is really strange is that, you know, this is from a side of the aisle that used to claim the mantle of being pro-family. What we have right now is an administration that’s actually pro-family.”

“I guess he just doesn’t understand the concept of bottle feeding, let alone the concept of paternity leave. But what is really strange is that, you know, this is from a side of the aisle that used to claim the mantle of being pro-family,” he told host Nicolle Wallace.

“What we have right now is an administration that’s actually pro-family. I’m blessed to be able to experience that as an employee, being able to have the flexibility to take care of our newborn children,” Buttigieg continued.

Wallace responded by suggesting, without evidence, that Carlson’s comments came from homophobia.

“It feels homophobic to suggest that you were trying to figure out breastfeeding. I mean, it feels dirtier than that. How does this attack land for you and Chasten?” she asked.

“Well, look, this attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk. So, obviously, we know that there’s some dark places where some of these attitudes come from,” Buttigieg said. “But I also note that that doesn’t speak for the country. I don’t think that even speaks for most people on the other side of the aisle from the party that I belong to.”

In college, Carlson belonged to the Dan White Society, named after a mentally unstable San Francisco politician who murdered San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the latter of whom was gay, over alleged corruption. White committed suicide in prison.

Carlson has not explained his association with the group but he also has not openly stated he supported the murders of Moscone and Milk, especially the latter because of his sexual orientation.

As for the supply chain crisis, the Biden administration announced last week that major ports in California will begin working a 24/7 schedule in order to offload a bottleneck of cargo vessels, more than 100 of which are anchored off the coasts of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The administration has also warned that there is likely to be a dearth of consumer items for the holiday shopping season.

Buttigieg claimed this week that he was in contact with the administration and handling his job while on leave.

Jon Dougherty

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