Transportation Secretary comes under fire for being on paternity leave amid supply chain crisis

Pete Buttigieg’s staff has confirmed that he has been on leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband and two newborn babies. 

Updated: October 15, 2021 - 3:59pm

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has come under fire for being on paternity leave since the onset of the supply chain crisis that has plagued both the transportation and retail industries. 

According to the New York Post, Buttigieg’s staff confirmed that he has been on leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband and two newborn babies. 

The Transportation Secretary’s absence comes amid the growing congestion at ports in California, causing commodities to be delayed and consumers to become anxious.

Buttigieg’s conspicuous absence amid a global transportation crisis has caused many to criticize President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate him to lead the Transportation Department.

“Pete Buttigieg was completely unqualified to serve as Secretary of Transportation,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tweeted Monday. “Now, Pete is absent during a transportation crisis that is hurting working-class Americans.” 

Cotton went on to say that Buttigieg couldn’t plan “a one-car funeral procession” if the government required it of him. 

Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming also took aim at the Biden administration official in an interview with the Washington Examiner, saying that there is “more that the Department of Transportation can and should be doing to help address ongoing supply chain issues related to the pandemic.” 

Buttigieg and his husband Chasten announced the birth of their two children last month in a tweet, saying they’ve always wanted to be parents.

“Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we’re becoming parents,” Buttigieg said in a tweet, along with a black and white photo of his husband and new children. “We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.”

Biden reaffirmed his support of Buttigieg, thanking him Wednesday in a speech in which the president addressed the ongoing supply chain crisis.

It is not yet clear what date Buttigieg will return to work at the Department of Transportation.