Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Buttigieg: "I'm not going to apologize" for taking parental leave

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday responded to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who mocked Buttigieg for taking parental leave after the birth of his children.

What he's saying: "I'm not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else to taking care of our premature twins," Buttigieg told CNN's "State of the Union." 

  • "The work we are doing is joyful, fulfilling, important work, it's important work and it's work that every American ought to be able to do when they welcome a new child into their family," Buttigieg added.

Catch up fast: Carlson mocked Buttigieg on his show, saying the secretary was "trying to figure out how to breastfeed" after Politico reported Buttigieg had been on leave since mid-August.

Buttigieg said every American parent should be able to take parental leave after welcoming a new child, and advocated for the family leave measure in President Biden's $3.5 trillion spending package.

  • "I campaigned on that. So did the president," Buttigieg said. "It's past time to make it possible for every American mother and father to take care of their children when a new child arrives in the family."

Worth noting: Buttigieg said his deputy at the Department of Transportation, Polly Trottenberg, is filling in for him when he's not available, though he has continued to stay engaged.

  • "When you take a job like mine, you understand and accept that you will have to be available 24/7 depending on what's going on," Buttigieg said.
  • "You will have to engage. I did, even if that meant taking a phone call or making a decision from a hospital room. I am so thankful for the phenomenal work my colleagues at the Department of Transportation have done and are doing."
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