Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Pete Buttigieg, criticized former Vice President Mike Pence’s recent remark that the transportation secretary had gone on “maternity leave,” telling ABC’s “The View” that the dig “flies in the face” of Pence’s family values.
Over the weekend, Pence delivered the line at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington – an event that traditionally features politicians making jokes about notable Washington figures. Pence had said, “When Pete’s two children were born, he took two months maternity leave, where upon thousands of travelers were stranded in airports, the air traffic system shut down, airplanes nearly collided in midair. I mean, Pete Buttigieg is the only person in human history to have a child and all the rest of us get postpartum depression.”
The White House called on Pence to apologize for what they described as a “homophobic joke” that was “offensive and inappropriate” and Chasten Buttigieg told “The View” on Thursday that he hasn’t heard from the former vice president. He also responded to Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short, who earlier this week said the White House “should spare America the faux outrage” and that it “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.”
Buttigieg told “The View,” “I think it’s not woke … to say that something is homophobic or misogynistic. It doesn’t make it woke, you know, it doesn’t make you a snowflake to tell someone that they’ve made a mistake.”
“I think Republican or Democrat, we can all agree that … when your kid’s connected to a ventilator, you don’t want to be anywhere but their bedside,” he added, bringing up the fact that the secretary would go to a virtual background in the hospital room’s bathroom to get on a Zoom call so nobody could see he was in a hospital.
“I just don’t take that when it’s directed at my family and I don’t think anybody else would, especially when you bring a very small, medically fragile child into it,” he continued.
Buttigieg also asserted that Pence’s dig “flies in the face of what he says he is.”
“He says he’s a ‘family values’ Republican. … I don’t think he’s practicing what he preaches here,” he added, arguing that the dig was “part of a much bigger trend.”
Speaking to reporters in New Hampshire later Thursday, Pence said that Pete Buttigieg “can’t take a joke.”
The Buttigiegs adopted twins in 2021. After announcing he would take two months paternity leave to be with his newborn son and daughter, Pete Buttigieg received an onslaught of negative reactions from right-wing pundits.
“It’s a bigger conversation about the work that women do in families, right?” Chasten Buttigieg added. “Taking a swipe at all women and all families, and expecting that women would stay home and raise children, I think, is a pretty misogynistic view, especially from a man who just last year said that we should be supporting more people who adopt.”
This story has been updated with additional developments.