As cargo ships got congested at American ports, creating a huge supply-chain problem, Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg was enjoying paid leave to spend some time with Chasten, his husband, and their two newborns.
After weeks of people wondering about the secretary’s whereabouts as the crisis became obvious, Politico’s Playbook said this Thursday that Buttigieg was “laying low.”
“They did not announce it before, but his team said to the Playbook that Buttigieg was actually on paid leave since August to be with his husband, Chasten, and their two newborns,” Playbook said.
They didn’t previously announce it, but Buttigieg’s office told West Wing Playbook that the secretary has actually been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband, Chasten, and their two newborn babies.
— Matthew Kaminski (@KaminskiMK) October 15, 2021
A spokesman for the Dept. of Transportation confirmed that the secretary was “mostly offline” through this rough time period.
“For the initial four weeks, he was mostly away except for large agency choices and matters not able to be delegated,” claimed the spokesman. “He has been increasing activities since this.”
The spokesman added that Buttigieg will “keep taking time over the upcoming weeks to support his husband and care for his new children.”
The White House would not confirm if President Joe Biden approved of this leave himself.
“Pete’s been a vital member to the team since Day One, and has been crucial as we brought the President’s agenda over the finish line,” an official said to Politico. “We are overjoyed for Chasten and him, and think everyone should have paid leave.”
This previous Wednesday, Buttigieg reportedly went to a “high-profile meeting” with Biden to speak about the ongoing supply chain problem that will likely lead to empty shelves at top retail outlets this holiday – a prospect starting the hashtag #EmptyShelvesJoe trending via Twitter.
Hoping to change direction, the Dept. of Transportation sent a message to reporters highlighting Buttigieg’s numerous media appearances since last Thursday. “ICYMI: Sec. Buttigieg Highlights White House Efforts to Deal With Ongoing Supply Chain Problems,” the subject line read. In the previous week, Buttigieg has gone on many tv news programs.
Dawn Huckelbridge, leader of the group Paid Leave for All, applauded Buttigieg for his paternity leave, stating it “reflects the changing norms.”
“It absolutely reflects our changing norms and the changing needs,” said Huckelbridge “I am thrilled that the secretary did this and showed that family and work go together.”
Author: Blake Ambrose