Out Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg slammed a Fox News host who brought up the latest scandal being pushed on rightwing media: that Buttigieg traveled with his husband Chasten Buttigieg on official White House business.
Last April, Buttigieg led the White House delegation to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands. The Invictus Games are an international sporting event that supports wounded servicemembers and veterans. Buttigieg, his husband, and the rest of the delegation traveled in a military aircraft to the games.
“Pete Buttigieg brought husband Chasten on military aircraft to attend sporting event in Netherlands,” blasted a headline on Fox News earlier this week, breaking the story eight months after it happened.
Others on the right were outraged to hear about it too and focused heavily on the fact that Buttigieg traveled with his husband.
The far-right news site Breitbart demanded to know “whether Buttigieg has reimbursed the government for his husband’s travel costs” in a story from this past Wednesday.
Buttigieg “took Chasten on a military plane to attend a sporting event in Europe.. with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Tom Price resigned for much less,” complained GOP strategist Matt Whitlock.
“Your holiday flights were delayed or cancelled but Pete Buttigieg brought his husband on a military aircraft to attend sporting event in Netherlands,” Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) press secretary Abigail Marone complained.
Fox’s Bret Baier asked Buttigieg about it last night: “You also brought your husband Chasten on a military aircraft to attend this sporting event in the Netherlands. Was that reimbursed?”
“Of course not,” Buttigieg responded bluntly. “I led a presidential delegation to support American wounded warriors and injured servicemembers, the Invictus Games.”
“It was one of the great honors of my time in this job.”
“And the diplomatic protocol, on a presidential delegation is that the principal is often accompanied by their spouse.”
He explained that he met wounded servicemembers from Ukraine who went right back to fighting in their country afterward and also met with Dutch officials.
Then he pointed out that during the Trump administration, then-Secretary of the Army Mark Esper went to the Invictus Games with his wife and Donald Trump went with Melania Trump another year. During the Obama administration, Michelle Obama went with Barack Obama.
“The question on my mind is, if no one’s raising questions about why Secretary Esper and his wife led that delegation – as well they should have – why is it any different when it’s me and my husband?”
“Understood,” Baier responded before moving on to another topic.
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 6, 2023
“It’s standard practice for military aircraft to be provided for White House organized cabinet-level presidential delegations,” the White House said in a statement.
At Breitbart’s story on the matter, commenters made the homophobic subtext into explicit text.
“There’s absolutely nothing normal about a dude married to a dude,” the top comment states.
“‘His husband’…un-effing real,” another commenter wrote.
“It’s not a marriage. It’s a potential pedophile ring,” another highly-rated comment reads.