Right-wing Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday mocked out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave after he and his husband, Chasten, adopted two children.
“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, incorrectly stating the couple adopted only one child.
Buttigieg, who made history as the first out gay Senate-confirmed U.S. Cabinet member, returned to his Cabinet role this month.
“For the first four weeks, he was mostly offline except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated,” a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation told Politico. “He has been ramping up activities since then.”
The spokesperson added that Buttigieg will “continue to take some time over the coming weeks to support his husband and take care of his new children.”
The White House defended the Transportation secretary on Friday, according to Business Insider. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Buttigieg was a role model.
Over the summer, the Buttigiegs announced they were expecting. In September the couple revealed their children had been born.
“Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we're becoming parents,” Buttigieg wrote in a post at the time. “We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.”
During an appearance on the MSNBC morning show Morning Joe this month, Buttigieg said that parenting was everything people told him it would be and more.
“I think the biggest thing that's surprised me is just how much joy there is even sometimes in the hard parts. Don't get me wrong, it's the most demanding thing I've ever done, that Chasten and I have ever taken on but it's just amazing. I used to think of 5 p.m. as early, and now I think of it as naptime if I'm lucky, and yet I catch myself grinning half the time,” he explained.