Tucker Carlson mocks Buttigieg over paternity leave

Fox News host Tucker Carlson mocked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday for taking paternity leave following the birth of his adopted twins.

“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 prime-time show.

Buttigieg announced in early September that he and his husband Chasten had welcomed twins — Penelope Rose and Joseph August. The two, who have been married since 2018, have previously said they wanted to start a family. 

Politico reported on Thursday that Buttigieg had been on paid leave since mid-August.

The comments from Carlson, whose employer has a six-week paternity leave policy, come as his own colleagues have praised the very policy he criticized.

“Now I am pro-paternity. I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse, but now, ya know, I wish I could take six weeks,” fellow Fox News host Jesse Watters said in mid-April. Watters took time off following the birth of his third child.

Earlier this year, “Fox & Friends First” co-host Todd Piro also said that he would be taking off six weeks through the company’s paternity leave. 

Carlson’s remarks prompted an uproar from Democrats and other critics after video of the segment made the rounds on social media.

White House aides on Friday highlighted messages on Twitter supporting Buttigieg and criticizing Carlson. Some aides also took issue with Politico’s original characterization in a Thursday newsletter that Buttigieg has been “MIA” — or missing in action — from his job. 

“To call parenting your newborns being ‘MIA’ is to render invisible every single working parent in this country,” tweeted White House communications director Kate Bedingfield. “Outdated, embarrassing and unacceptable.”

“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,” read one tweet from the progressive political action committee Vote Vets that called Carlson “pathetic” and was retweeted by a White House aide.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she’s proud to work with people like Buttigieg “who are role models on the importance of paid leave for new parents.”

—Updated at 1:20 p.m.

Tags Fox News Jen Psaki Jesse Watters Kate Bedingfield paid paternity leave Parental leave paternity leave Pete Buttigieg Tucker Carlson

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