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Tucker Carlson took a shot at the first openly gay Cabinet secretary for taking parental leave after the birth of his children.
Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary and former presidential candidate, went on parental leave in mid-August after he and his husband, Chasten, became fathers to newborn twins, Politico reported Thursday. Buttigieg has recently returned to making TV appearances as the country deals with a growing supply chain crisis and as a pair of infrastructure bills backed by the White House are jeopardized by two Democratic senators demanding less spending on domestic programs.
Conservatives questioned Buttigieg’s absence and, after Politico’s report on Thursday, mocked his decision to take leave to spend time with his newborn babies. Carlson, for his part, just resorted to straight-up homophobia.
“Paternity leave, they call it,” Carlson said during his Thursday night broadcast. “Trying to figure out how to breastfeed, no word on how that went.”
This is not the first instance of Carlson being homophobic. Last year, a tweet went viral showing Carlson’s entry in his college yearbook joking that he was a member of the “Dan White Society,” a reference to the San Francisco city supervisor who assassinated pioneering gay politician Harvey Milk in 1978.
As critics pointed out, Fox News offers parental leave to its employees as well. Todd Piro, a co-host of early morning show Fox & Friends First, wrote an op-ed earlier this year talking about his experience on leave after becoming a father, and praising the network for offering six weeks of parental leave.
“I cannot thank Fox enough for providing all fathers who work here with such a generous paternity leave. This experience has changed me in a profound way and in ways I won’t fully comprehend until my daughter is older,” he wrote. “But for now—that smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles—is what I will cherish the most. There is nothing better.”
Carlson wasn’t the only prominent right-winger to criticize Buttigieg’s parental leave. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, told Breitbart that Buttigieg—a new father of twin infants—was “sitting at home.”
“Pete needs to either get back to work or leave the Department of Transportation. It’s time to put American families first,” she said.