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Chasten Buttigieg Powerfully Responds to Mike Pence’s Homophobia

Chasten Buttigieg Powerfully Responds to Mike Pence’s Homophobia

Chasten and Pete Buttigieg and former VP Mike Pence

The husband, father, educator, and author took to his keyboard and clapped back at the former Republican vice president for using the Buttigieg family as a punchline.

After former Vice President Mike Pence perpetuated homophobia in the form of an attempted joke at the expense of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the first out cabinet secretary in U.S. history, during the Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Buttigieg’s husband Chasten got the last word on Monday.

On Saturday, while speaking in front of a mixed crowd of journalists, politicians, and administration officials, Pence invoked the Buttigieg family while trying to tell a joke that prompted the White House to ask for an apology.

He criticized Buttigieg for taking “maternity leave” in 2021 after he and Chasten adopted twins.

“Pete is the only person in human history to have a child, and everybody else gets postpartum depression,” Pence added.

The White House requested an apology from the former vice president on Monday.

“The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, all the more so because he treated women suffering from post-partum depression as a punchline,” White House press secretary Karine-Jean Pierre said in a statement to the Washington Blade. “He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Initially, Chasten Buttigieg seemed to only subtly acknowledge the offensive dig at his family when he tweeted an update on the foursome’s morning.

“There is nothing better than the sound of toddler giggles, and the pitter-patter of their happy feet running towards you in the kitchen on a Sunday morning. Pancakes are ready. Have a good day, friends,” he wrote the morning after Pence’s remarks.

However, the husband, father, educator, and author wrote a powerful tweet on Monday afternoon.

Included with the caption was a photo of Pete holding one of the couple’s prematurely born infants who was intubated in a hospital pediatric intensive care unit.

“An honest question for you, @Mike_Pence, after your attempted joke this weekend,” Chasten began. “If your grandchild was born prematurely and placed on a ventilator at two months old - their tiny fingers wrapped around yours as the monitors beep in the background - where would you be?”

Chasten also linked to an essay published by the transportation secretary on his Medium page last August that explained the couple’s challenges as they welcomed their children into the world.

In 2021, the Buttigieg’s received a call from their adoption agency that a mother had given birth to twins that day and she was putting them up for adoption, but that there were some health concerns the couple needed to consider because the babies were very fragile, having been born prematurely.

Over the moon with joy but also cautiously optimistic due to false starts before, Buttigieg wrote, they traveled to the rural hospital to meet their daughter and son, Penelope Rose and Joseph August, who they call Gus.

The following weeks and months were incredibly challenging because of the stress from the two weeks it took to finalize the kids’ adoption and a host of acute medical conditions, he wrote.

Just a few months after being home with their kids, the entire family became sick with RSV, a respiratory viral infection that can be life-threatening for children, especially premature infants. Both kids were admitted to the hospital and put on oxygen for several days.

After being discharged, Gus eventually developed difficulty breathing that got so bad that a cadre of doctors decided he needed to be immediately intubated, Buttigieg wrote. He described the amount of help and support from friends and family members it took to get through the time when one of their kids was in the hospital and the other in the hotel nearby the children’s medical center Gus had been taken to.

Buttigieg also describes the everyday parenting a couple with new babies goes through, from strollers and car seats to diapers, feedings, poops, and burps.

Republicans had criticized Buttigieg for taking parental leave when Gus and Penelope were born.

The right’s obsession with the gay couple’s decision to take time away from work and public life to care for new additions to their family has not subsided.

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