Pete Buttigieg Fires Back at Tucker Carlson After Paternity Leave Criticism: 'I'm Not Going to Apologize'

The 39-year-old U.S. Transportation Secretary had been on paid paternity leave since August after welcoming twins with his husband Chasten

Pete and Chasten Buttigieg Reveal Their Twins' Names with First Family Photo: 'Beyond Thankful'
Chasten (left) and Pete Buttigieg and their kids. Photo: Pete Buttigieg/Twitter

New father Pete Buttigieg has no time for the haters.

The 39-year-old U.S. Transportation Secretary, who had been on paid paternity leave since August, responded to criticism from Fox News host Tucker Carlson for taking time off after welcoming twins Penelope Rose and Joseph August with his husband Chasten.

"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 on Thursday.

On Sunday, Buttigieg told CNN host Jake Tapper, "As you might imagine, we're bottle feeding and doing it at all hours of the day and night."

pete buttigeig
Pete Buttigieg.

The former Navy reservist continued, "I'm not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn infant twins. The work that we are doing is joyful, fulfilling, wonderful work, it's important work."

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Buttigieg also fired back at Carlson on Meet the Press, saying, "When somebody welcomes a new child into their family and goes on leave to take care of that child, that's not a vacation, it's work."

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Earlier this month, Buttigieg gushed about parenthood on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "It's been wonderful," he said. "It's everything people tell you to expect 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," he added with a laugh, "it's the most demanding thing I think I've ever done, that Chasten and I have ever taken on. It's just amazing."

"I used to think of 5 a.m. as early. Now I think of it as nap time if I'm lucky," said Buttigieg. "And yet, I catch myself grinning half the time ... We're just over the moon."

In September, Buttigieg shared the first family photo with his husband and their twins.

"Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we're becoming parents. We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family," he tweeted at the time.

The politician previously announced that he and Chasten were parents on Twitter in August. "For some time, Chasten and I have wanted to grow our family. We're overjoyed to share that we've become parents!" he wrote.

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