The White House called on former Vice President Mike Pence to apologize to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for mocking him for taking paternity leave after he and his husband adopted twins.
“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,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a Monday statement. “He should apologize to women and LGBTQ people, who are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The push from the White House comes days after Pence made fun of Buttigieg for taking paternity leave during his remarks at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C.
“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,” Pence said. “I mean, Pete Buttigieg is the only person in human history to have a child and all the rest of us get postpartum depression.”
Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short deflected in trying to push back on the White House statement, saying the administration “should spare America the faux outrage.” Short added 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 and his husband Chasten adopted twins in Sep. 2021. Following the adoption, Buttigieg announced he would take two months of paternity leave to be with his newborn son and daughter and received an onslaught of hostility from right-wingers.
“An honest question for you, Mike Pence, 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 tweeted on Monday in response to Pence’s remarks.