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Chasten Buttigieg responds to Pence's paternity leave joke: ‘Where would you be?’


Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s husband Chasten Buttigieg on Monday pushed back against former Vice President Mike Pence’s jokes about his husband’s paternity leave, questioning where he would be if his grandchild was born prematurely.

“An honest question for you,@mikepence, after your attempted joke this weekend. If your grandchild was born prematurely and placed on a ventilator at two months old – their tiny fingers wrapped around yours as the monitors beep in the background – where would you be?” Chasten Buttigieg said on Instagram with a photograph of the Transportation chief in the hospital.

Speaking at the annual Gridiron dinner for journalists on Saturday in Washington, Pence pointed to widespread flight disruptions and other travel issues in recent months, joking that Pete Buttigieg “is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression.”

Buttigieg announced in September 2021 that he and his husband welcomed twins into their family. The twins were soon hospitalized after a respiratory virus infection, he later shared.

Doctors reportedly said the children were in critical condition at one point and Buttigieg, while reflecting on the experience a year later, said that the hospital turned into a “new home base” for he and Chasten.

In the photograph shared on Instagram Monday, Buttigieg is seen sitting in a chair next to a child hospital bed, holding one of his children with an AirPod in an ear.

While Buttigieg has said he worked every day from the hospital, some conservatives criticized him for not working harder while his infants were hospitalized because the U.S. was facing a national crisis as supply chains were disrupted.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday called for Pence to apologize for the jokes, slamming them as “homophobic” and “inappropriate.”

“The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, all the more so because he treated women suffering from postpartum depression as a punchline,” she said. “He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short criticized Jean-Pierre’s remarks, calling it “faux outrage.”

“The White House would be wise to focus less on placating the woke police and focus more on bank failures, planes nearly colliding in mid-air, train derailments, and the continued supply chain crisis,” Short added.

Source: The Hill

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