During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg put the Trump administration on blast for essentially leaving Americans to suffer during last year’s holiday season. The mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic by former President Trump and his team meant that vast numbers of Americans were infected with the virus, leaving them vulnerable to potential serious illness and death. Under the Biden administration, the fight against COVID-19 has been more direct, from the vaccine mandates that they’ve announced for certain groups to sweeping mask policies.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is also continuing to support struggling families amid the crisis through means including the expanded child tax credit, which has been made partly available to families in monthly installments in order to help bring certain families out of more precarious situations. Buttigieg referenced these issues after host Jake Tapper asked about the supply chain issues that have been affecting American shopping. Buttigieg pointedly commented as follows:
‘What I know is that the holidays are gonna be a lot better this year than they were last year, because a year ago, millions of Americans were sliding into poverty who now have jobs. And a year ago, a lot of us were gathering with loved ones over a screen. It’s gonna be different this year, because of the president’s leadership, because of being able to get more and more Americans vaccinated and make that available free to every American, and those are just a couple of the reasons why we can expect a much better holiday season this year than we were facing a year ago.’
On CNN, Buttigieg also addressed recent homophobic criticism from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who mockingly suggested that Buttigieg — who, with his husband, recently adopted two young children — had been on paternity leave in order to “figure out how to breastfeed.” Buttigieg said that he was “not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn infant twins.” He also spoke in support of enacting a policy of paid family leave for all Americans, saying that the work of caring for a young child is “work that every American ought to be able to do when they welcome a new child into their family.” Universal paid family leave is among the policies included in the $3.5 trillion spending proposal being advocated for by Democratic leaders.
Watch Buttigieg’s comments below:
Buttigieg on Tucker Carlson mocking him for taking paternity leave: "I'm not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn twins … it's work that every American ought to be able to do when they welcome a new child into their family" pic.twitter.com/QXUxU1T0Me
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 17, 2021