Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, went on paid parental leave in mid-August to spend time with his husband Chasten and their newborn twins, Penelope Rose and Joseph August.
“Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went,” Carlson said during a rant about inflation and supply chain issues.
Fox News also offers paternity leave to its employees. “Fox & Friends First” co-host Todd Piro announced earlier this year that he would take a six-week paternity leave to spend time with his daughter. In April, Fox News host Jesse Watters took a brief leave after the birth of his third child.
“Now I am pro-paternity. I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse. But now, ya know, I wish I could take six weeks,” Watters said on “The Five” at the time.
Buttigieg spent four weeks “mostly offline” from work with his husband and babies, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation told Politico. Although he is still taking time to support his family, Buttigieg has begun “ramping up activities.” He made a slate of media and event appearances this week.
Carlson has been accused of homophobia many times in the past. Earlier this year, an entry from his college yearbook went viral. In it, he wrote that he was part of the “Dan White Society.” Many interpreted that as a reference to the man who in 1978 murdered San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected politician.
Carlson has also affiliated himself with the Jesse Helms Foundation, which is named after the late anti-gay and anti-civil rights North Carolina senator.
Carlson’s latest comments were met with disgust from critics:
Fox News did not immediately return a request for comment.