Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonDemocrat says Tucker Carlson viewers telling his office US should side with Russia The Hill's 12:30 Report: More of Biden's agenda teeters on collapse The Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin MORE mocked Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Airlines suspend US flights in response to 5G deployment AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G rollout near certain airports MORE 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.
Tucker Carlson mocks Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave: "Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed, no word on how that went." pic.twitter.com/zFnp6uSser— nikki mccann screamírez (@NikkiMcR) October 15, 2021
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 WattersJesse WattersJoe Biden: The curmudgeon in chief Fox News adjusts weekend prime-time lineup Fox's Jeanine Pirro named co-host of 'The Five' MORE 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 BedingfieldKate BedingfieldWhite House spokesperson: Biden laid a foundation for progress but has more to do Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden seeks to reverse Trump on Arctic drilling Biden environmental aide leaving White House MORE. “Outdated, embarrassing and unacceptable."
To call parenting your newborns being "MIA" is to render invisible every single working parent in this country. Outdated, embarrassing and unacceptable. It's long past time we see and support working parents instead. https://t.co/VRJjR7BDU0— Kate Bedingfield (@WHCommsDir) October 15, 2021
“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 PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense & National Security — US delivers written response to Russia Briefing in brief: Biden committed to naming Black woman to Supreme Court Biden signs order criminalizing military sexual harassment MORE said she's proud to work with people like Buttigieg "who are role models on the importance of paid leave for new parents."
Also 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 https://t.co/Zby6W6XoNo— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) October 15, 2021
—Updated at 1:20 p.m.