Buttigieg’s paternity leave is a reminder that the US prioritizes work over family


Forget bonding with your vulnerable newborns, there are urgent emails to be sent.’ PHOTO/Sue Ogrocki/AP

The transportation secretary is ‘at work’ like the heroic workaholic he is – but that undermines the whole point of parental leave

What Pete Buttigieg reveals about paternity leave in America

Brace yourself, because what I’m going to say next may shock you. Here we go: an American man adopted newborn twins and then had the audacity to take some time off work to look after them! No, I can’t believe it either. No self-respecting, red-blooded man should be spending time with his tiny babies. He should be in the office, missing those early months, so he can focus on what’s really important. Forget bonding with your vulnerable newborns, there are urgent emails to be sent.

The man in question, of course, is the US secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, who recently adopted twins with his husband. Conservatives have, predictably, been having homophobic hysterics about the loving family but were tipped over the edge when it emerged that Buttigieg had taken parental leave. The Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the patron saint of family values, ridiculed Buttigieg’s parenting last week. “Paternity leave, they call it,” Carlson sneered. “Trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went.” Carlson, by the way, has four children. No word on how much time he spent with them when they were born. No doubt he was a Real Man™ and left his wife, or the nannies, to do all the parenting.

Buttigieg’s paternity leave was criticized again on Tuesday when a reporter from the conservative outlet Newsmax asked the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, whether it wasn’t wise for Buttigieg to come back to work. Psaki responded by saying: “He is at work. I was on a conference call with him this morning.” She then went on to talk about how important parental leave is.

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