Buttigieg hits back after parental leave criticism: 'Really strange'

Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron Pressed on 2024, Buttigieg says 'we are squarely focused on the job at hand' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE responded to criticism from conservatives he received for taking parental leave after adopting two newborns.

Buttigieg has received some criticism for staying on parental leave since August as the country is dealing with supply chain issues. Others took to attacking Buttigieg for taking parental leave altogether, mocking the idea.

"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," Fox News’s Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonRittenhouse says he's destroying gun used in fatal Kenosha shootings NBA's Enes Kanter: Americans criticizing their country should 'keep their mouth shut' The serious and growing danger of vigilantism MORE said on his show. 

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Buttigieg said on MSNBC’s "Deadline: White House" that despite his parental leave, he has been available “24/7” for issues. He also took a shot at Carlson saying he doesn’t understand parental leave.

“Well, look, in his case, 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. What we have right now is an administration that's actually pro-family,” Buttigieg said. 

“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 — it's definitely work,” he added.

Carlson received backlash from Democrats and others for his comments, including White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Biden's winter COVID-19 strategy Biden lays out multi-pronged plan to deal with evolving pandemic White House defends travel ban on African countries MORE who said the Transportation secretary is a role model for the “importance of paid leave for new parents."

Tennessee Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnConservatives target Biden pick for New York district court Senators seek to curb counterfeit toys and goods sold online China draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai MORE (R) also went after Buttigieg on Friday night, tweeting that he “should do his job” and following it up with criticism he was on parental leave during a “transportation crisis.”

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“We’re in the middle of a transportation crisis and the White House was hiding that Pete Buttigieg was on paid leave. Why did we just learn of this?” Blackburn tweeted.