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Pete Buttigieg is championing paid leave for new parents while pushing back on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's criticism of taking time off to care for newborn twins.
While appearing on The View Wednesday, Buttigieg was asked about Carlson's recent on-air comments when the anchor said, "Paternity leave, they call it; trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went."
The 39-year-old U.S. Secretary of Transportation and his teacher/author husband Chasten, 32, announced that they became parents in August, later revealing in September that they welcomed twins Penelope Rose and Joseph August.
"Obviously the negativity was unfortunate, but in a way, maybe some good comes out of it too. Because it's helped us have a conversation about parental leave," Buttigieg said on The View.
Buttigieg said, "Culturally, we do have to get across the idea that this is work," when talking about caring for new children.
"My workday as secretary of transportation starts at a relatively normal hour, but my workday as a dad starts at 3 in the morning, when Chasten finally hits the sack and it's my turn to start that first feeding," he said. "There's still this cultural idea out there in some places that this is vacation. We just gotta change that culture."
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Transportation @SecretaryPete Buttigieg responds to criticism of his paternity leave, telling #TheView “the negativity was unfortunate” but it has “helped us have a conversation about parental leave.”
“Every American ought to be able to get paid parental leave,” he adds. pic.twitter.com/ywa9XrKyqV
— The View (@TheView) October 20, 2021
On Sunday, Buttigieg responded to Carlson's criticism, telling CNN host Jake Tapper, "As you might imagine, we're bottle-feeding and doing it at all hours of the day and night."
He continued, "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."
Buttigieg also fired back at Carlson on Meet the Press, saying, "When somebody welcomes a new child into their family and goes on leave to take care of that child, that's not a vacation, it's work."
When Buttigieg announced that he and Chasten were parents on Twitter in August, he wrote, "For some time, Chasten and I have wanted to grow our family. We're overjoyed to share that we've become parents!"
Pete and Chasten rose to the national stage in April 2019, when the former announced his bid for president in the 2020 Election, which would have made him the first openly gay politician to hold the office. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, ultimately lost the Democratic primary to now-President Joe Biden, who made Pete the first openly gay person to hold a Cabinet post.