Buttigieg defends taking weeks off during crisis and warns supply chain crisis will go into 2022

Pete Buttigieg rebuked conservative criticism over taking parental leave in the midst of a supply chain crisis after adopting twin newborns, as the Transportation secretary claimed paid leave to take care of family is still ‘work.’

He also admitted that the supply chain traffic jams and delays could last into next year.

‘As you might imagine, we’re bottle-feeding, and doing it at all hours of the day and night,’ Buttigieg explained to CNN‘s State of the Union on Sunday. ‘And I’m not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn infant twins.’

Buttigieg is rearing to Carlson dismissing him on Friday after making a joke the day before about him taking parental leave, which the Fox News host sarcastically says was made in ‘error.’

‘Last night on this show we made a brief, offhand joke about the Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and this morning we discovered our error,’ Carlson said. ‘It turns out that Buttigieg is not a dwarfish fraud whose utter mediocrity indicts the class that produced him. No, not at all.’

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that paid parental leave isn’t ‘vacation’ and that it’s another form of ‘work’ as he defended criticism over taking off during a supply chain crisis to take care of his adopted newborns

‘Pete Buttigieg was once the mayor of South Bend, Indiana,’ he continued in questioning the seriousness of the Transportation secretary. ‘So understandably, going forward, we are under strict orders from the Biden administration to take Pete Buttigieg very, very seriously. And of course we will. Our mistake.’

Buttigieg said on Sunday to NBC’s Meet the Press that paid parental leave in the Build Back Better agenda is a major part of President Biden’s ‘vision.’

‘The president’s been very clear on what he’s calling for,’ Buttigieg said. ‘And the American people want this too.’

‘Look, paid family leave is important,’ he added. ‘It’s important as a matter of family values. It’s important to our economy. And one more thing that I think is maybe underappreciated.’

‘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. It’s joyful, wonderful, fulfilling work, but it is work,’ he said of his new role as a parent. ‘And it’s time that our nation join pretty much every other country in the world and recognize that.’

Buttigieg said that all families deserve paid time off from their jobs to take care of loved ones – including for maternal and paternal leave because it is still a form of ‘work.’

‘The work that we are doing is joyful, fulfilling, wonderful work,’ Buttigieg reiterated to CNN of him and his husband taking care of their two newborns. ‘It’s important work. And it’s work that every American ought to be able to do when they welcome a new child into their family. I campaigned on that. So did the president.’

‘We’re pretty much the only country left that doesn’t have some kind of national policy for paid leave. I think it’s down to us and Papua New Guinea,’ he criticized on CNN. ‘It is long past time to make it possible for every American mother and father to take care of their children when a new child arrives in the family.’

Buttigieg announced September 4 that he and husband Chasten adopted two premature newborn twins, Penelope and Joseph

Buttigieg announced September 4 that he and husband Chasten adopted two premature newborn twins, Penelope and Joseph

Buttigieg announced September 4 on social media that he and his husband Chasten adopted twin newborns – Penelope and Joseph.

It later emerged that Buttigieg began taking parental leave in mid-August, but the Transportation Department never announced his planned absence. Buttigieg likely took around two months off after he appeared to confirm in a retweet last week that he had been on leave and had recently returned to work.

In the time Buttigieg was off, a supply chain bottleneck emerged in the U.S. – specifically in the Port of Los Angeles, where nearly half of all shipping containers entering the U.S.

Last week, President Joe Biden announced that in a deal with private industry brokered by Buttigieg, the LA port would now operate 24/7 to help reduce supply chain delays as the holiday season approaches.

Also on Sunday, Buttigieg warned that the supply chain disruption will continue into 2022.

‘Certainly a lot of the challenges that we have been experiencing this year will continue into next year,’ Buttigieg told State of the Union host Jake Tapper. ‘But there are both short-term and long-term steps that we can take to do something about it.’

He then claimed that the ‘supply side’ isn’t to blame for the shortages and massive bottle necks at U.S. ports as not enough trucks are arriving to take containers from incoming ships.

‘Look, part of what’s happening isn’t just the supply side. It’s the demand side,’ Buttigieg said. ‘Demand is off the charts. Retail sales are through the roof. And if you think about those images of ships, for example, waiting at anchor on the West Coast, you know, every one of those ships is full of record amounts of goods that Americans are buying, because demand is up, because income is up, because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the teeth of a terrifying recession.’ 

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