Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s homophobia-tinged attack on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s decision to avail himself of paternity leave to care for his recently-adopted twins has drawn swift condemnation from LGBT+ rights groups.
Mr Buttigieg, the first openly LGBT+ person to lead one of the 15 cabinet departments, drew the former bow tie afficionado’s scorn late on Thursday after Politico noted that the secretary had spent recent weeks away from his Department of Transportation office, an absence the White House attributed to parental leave on account of his and husband Chasten’s 17 August announcement that they were “overjoyed” to have become parents.
During Mr Carlson’s nightly show on Thursday, the Fox News host mocked the 39-year-old for taking time to care for his newborn son and daughter, and suggested that Mr Buttigieg, who is male, would have spent the time “trying to figure out how to breastfeed”.
“No word on how that went,” he added.
Neither the White House nor the Department of Transportation responded to The Independent’s request to comment on Mr Carlson’s attack against the secretary.
In an emailed statement, LGBTQ Victory Fund Vice President Elliot Imse told The Independent that the Fox News host “peddles in hate and anger” and his comments were “pathetic”.
Mr Carlson, he said, “whines to his audience about the degradation of family values in America and then criticizes Pete for spending time with his newborns. It is nonsensical”, adding that he hopes the comments “spark a conversation that prompts elected officials and Americans to think more critically about policies that help parents succeed – including same-sex couples”.
A spokesperson for GLAAD, a nonprofit that monitors media for defamatory coverage of LGBT+ people, told The Independent that Mr Carlson (who has a long history of making homophobic remarks) “is once again revealing his sheer ignorance and his blatant homophobia”.
“Viewers deserve a lifetime leave from his repulsive rhetoric,” the spokesperson said. “No job is more important than being a parent, and no person is so indispensable that they cannot be with their families when they need to be. The attacks on Secretary Buttigieg wreak of outdated notions toxic to all men, all parents and all workers.”
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