Pete Buttigieg fired back at Tucker Carlson after his bigoted “breastfeeding” rant, saying the Fox News host clearly “doesn’t understand the concept of bottle feeding”.
The transportation secretary, who recently became a father to baby twins, weighed in on Carlson’s comments while speaking with MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace on Friday (15 October).
“Look, in his case, I guess he just doesn’t understand the concept of bottle feeding, let alone the concept of paternity leave,” Buttigieg said with a smile. “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.
“What we have right now is an administration that’s actually pro-family. And 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, which is, by the way, work. It’s a joyful work. It’s wonderful work, but it’s definitely work.”
Tucker Carlson had tried to mock Buttigieg for taking time off to care for his newborn children, claiming he was “trying to figure out 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,” Carlson said Thursday (14 October).
His comments drew immediate criticism on social media, with many accusing the Fox News host – not for the first time – of homophobia. Wallace addressed this in her conversation with Buttigieg, saying Carlson’s attack felt “misogynistic” and “homophobic”.
Buttigieg replied: “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 there’s some dark places where some of these attitudes come from.
“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,” he continued.
“This is largely a consensus issue, not just a support for families like mine to have a right to marry and right to be treated equally but also that families in general, moms and dads, ought to be able to support their children, including with paid family leave.”
The transportation secretary added that the crux of the criticism over his paternity leave – that he’s shirking job responsibilities while the US deals with massive global supply chain problems – is false.
“I have been fortunate and privileged to be able to have this leave, but I have still been available 24/7 on issues that can’t wait, issues that can’t be delegated and major decisions,” he said. “And one of those issues that I have been involved with throughout is, of course, that of supply chains.”