Watch Pete Buttigieg calls out Mike Pence for maternity leave jibe: ‘No time to focus on the Washington game’ – Latest News
Pete Buttigieg has broken his silence on Mike Pence’s “maternity leave” joke, saying he had more important things to do than worry about the “Washington game”.
The White House called for Mr Pence to apologise for the homophobic joke about the transportation secretary’s decision to take paternity leave when his twins were born.
Mr Pence said Mr Buttigieg, who is the first openly gay Cabinet secretary, took “maternity leave” while airline problems happened in 2021.
“Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression,” Mr Pence said at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington on Saturday.
When ABC asked Mr Buttigieg if the former vice president owed him an apology, he said: “You know, I’ll let others speak to that”.
“It’s a strange thing to me, because last time I saw him, he asked me about my kids like a normal person would.”
“But again, there’s not a lot of time for me to focus on the Washington game because we have real work to do here,” he said.
Mr Buttigieg and his husband Chasten adopted twins who were born prematurely and spent weeks being treated in a hospital with health issues in 2021.
Chasten Buttigieg called out Mr Pence on Monday and tweeted a photo of the secretary holding one of the babies in a hospital room.
“An honest question for you, (Mike Pence), after your attempted joke this weekend,” he tweeted.
“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?”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on Mr Pence to apologise for his remarks.
“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 in a statement.
“He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”