Psaki triggered by question about Buttigieg's extended absence during crisis

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing on Friday August 6, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House photo by Erin Scott)

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was triggered by a question about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s extended absence from work during a supply chain crisis, and responded with a lecture on paternity and maternity leave.

Buttigieg it just was revealed in recent days, took two months off because he and his same-sex partner adopted two newborns.

But during that time was when the realities of a number of transportation disasters surged, including the fact that thousands of containers holding cargo from manufacturers that retailers want on their store shelves still are afloat off America’s coast because they can’t get into ports to unload.

The result has been warnings from various experts that parents should do their Christmas shopping early this year, because it’s unlikely the stores will be able to fully stock their shelves.

Further, other key products have been delayed, too, including components for cars, leaving manufacturers stalled without a way to finish and sell their products.

The issue has complicated the inflation surge that Americans now are seeing in their wallets under a Biden administration.

The report asking the question was Emerald Robinson:

Here’s the response:

She asked, “Given the seriousness of the …. the supply chain crisis, and the multiple issues that you outlined wouldn’t it be wise for the secretary to get back on the bicycle so to speak, and come back to work? A new poll showed that 65% of voters think that given what’s going on he should come back to work.”

Psaki said Buttigieg was, in fact, back at work after some two months of secretly being absent.

“Listen, Emerald, I think what you’re getting at here is this question about whether , uh, men, parents, uh, women, should have paternity and maternity leave, and the answer is absolutely yes in our view.”

Psaki said, “That is the policy of this administration. That is what we’re pressing to make law so it’s a reality for women, parents, fathers, across the country and we’re not gonna back away from that.”

When the reporter pointed out that the job of the secretary of transportation was slightly different from that of many workers, Psaki again scolded her.

“Emerald just to be clear we are quite confident in the capabilities the talents of the civil servants, the leadership at the Department of Transportation, as we are at companies across the country where women, men take maternity and paternity leave.”

She boasted, “I took 12 weeks of maternity leave when I was the White House communications director and I’m grateful to former president Obama for that and for leadership at the time for that.”

She said, “This is something men, women, should have. They should have this time to bond with their children. Not going to apologize for that from here….”

A commentary at AmericaMagazine pointed out, however, that Buttigieg nowhere had referenced the birth mother of Penelope Rose and Joseph August.

“The White House arguably degraded the discourse further by calling Mr. Buttigieg a ‘role model’ for taking two months off in the middle of an economic crisis. Press Secretary Jen Psaki probably meant something more like an ‘aspirational example,’ but her words came off as critical of dads who cannot take time off, especially since Mr. Buttigieg is undeniably part of privileged sliver of society with the money and access to choose when and how to start a family,” the commentary said.

“Do you know what has not been talked about at all? The mother. The woman who gave birth to her two little ones two months ago and then said goodbye,” it said. “She is likely staying out of the limelight by choice. I can only imagine how awful people would be if they knew her name and face. But it worries me to my soul to see all the discussion swirl around whether or not two men should have two months off to care for their babies, and no discussion at all about what their birth mother should have.”

The commentary continued, “I just want us to remember that she exists. And it is weird that we are all acting like everything else is the main point, when none of this could possibly have happened without her nine months of work and who knows how many hours of labor and two months now of what can only be some kind of loss.”

Buttigieg himself defended “being AWOL on paternity leave amid the U.S.’s crippling supply-chain crisis,” which could last into next year.

He said he was working during that time, not on vacation, as cargo ships were left idling off U.S. ports and store shelves empty.

He also charged that bare store shelves are at least partly the fault of consumers.

“Demand is off the charts,” he said, “retail sales are through the roof. … Demand is up because income is up, because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the terrifying recession.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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