Pete Buttigieg Shades Tucker Carlson: He Doesn't Understand 'Bottle Feeding'

Sunday October 17, 2021
Originally published on October 16, 2021

Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg  (Source:Associated Press)

After Fox News host Tucker Carlson slammed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave during the current supply-chain crisis, Buttigieg struck back.

While Carlson went after Buttigieg for taking paternal leave, he didn't mention that his Fox News colleague when he quipped, " Jesse Watters when he quipped, "'Paternity leave,' they call it. Trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went," on October 14.


MSNBC Nicole Wallace interviewed Buttigieg about Carlson. She said to Buttigieg, who recently adopted twins with his husband Chasten, "He went on to say something about breast-feeding. Which I would say to Tucker Carlson, don't knock it 'til you try it."

"The former South Bend, IN mayor responded. CNN reports: "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." the HillReporter.com writes.

Wallace later tweeted a comment by Buttigieg from her interview: "I have a great career... but the moment that you hold your child in your arms for the first time... you very quickly realize that no matter what your career may or may not include, the most important job you have is the job of parents"

The Washington Post reports that Buttigieg said in the Friday interview that, despite being on leave, he has "been available 24/7 on issues that can't wait," one of them being supply chain problems that were a focus of the Republican criticism.

The controversy began when Politico wrote on Thursday that "Pete Buttigieg has been MIA."

His absence had been noticed by conservatives who earlier this month attempted to expose Buttigieg's absence without much success. But the story took off on Thursday after the Politico report and Carlson's comments.


The Post quoted Carlson on Thursday's show: "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."

"Pete and Chasten Buttigieg say they have become parents
Carlson's comments drew criticism, with many accusing him of homophobia. Elliot Imse, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, which advocates for LGBTQ people in public service, said the breastfeeding line was simply an attack on Buttigieg "for being a gay dad."

Imse added: "If he wanted to make an argument about taking paternity leave, he could have done that without throwing in a homophobic trope."

But Buttigieg absence had been reported by The Insider in early September when it reported that a Transportation Department spokesman said Buttigieg was "taking some time off to be with his young family."

"A Transportation Department spokesman told The Washington Post on Friday that Buttigieg was largely offline for the first four weeks of leave, 'except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated,' and then began taking on more work.

"The Office of Personnel Management didn't respond to a request for comment Friday, but told Politico that while Cabinet secretaries do not have leave policies like other federal employees, such time can be granted by the president," adds the WP.

"Fox News did not comment on Carlson's criticism of Buttigieg. The company offers new parents six weeks of paternity leave, a benefit some of its stars have lauded in the past," reports the WP. "In March, for example, "Fox & Friends" co-host Todd Piro took six weeks of paternity leave after his daughter's birth." In addition, "The Five" co-host Jesse Watters also took paternity leave, and spoke highly of the opportunity. "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," he said on "The Five" earlier this year.