Pete Buttigieg is an amazing dad — these 10 instances prove it

Chasten (left) and Pete Buttigieg (right) holding their newborn children
The Buttigieg family Photo: Instagram

Pete Buttigieg is the highly effective U.S. Transportation Secretary by day, and a loving father by morning, night, and every moment in between.

Beyond his political accomplishments, Buttigieg has consistently shown what it means to be a great dad. From sharing adorable photos of his children and posting sincere messages of gratitude, to choosing hilarious and creative Halloween costumes, his dedication to fatherhood shines through in the most endearing ways.

Below, we highlight 10 instances where Pete Buttigieg’s fatherhood has warmed our hearts and brought smiles to our faces, proving that he’s not just a leader on the political stage but also a hero at home.

1. He makes time for the small things.

Pete and Chasten Buttigieg & kids
Provided Pete and Chasten Buttigieg & kids

Pete Buttigieg is a busy guy. Between going toe to toe with the airline industry, making roads and railways safer, and helping to implement President Biden’s massive Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, there aren’t many hours left over in the day. But with two young kids in his life, he knows well enough to carve out extra space for quality dad time.

During a Father’s Day interview with CBS this month, Buttigieg said, “I think for any parent, you’re trying to get from task to task to task. And then you’ve gotta stop for a second and realize that these are some of the best and most important parts of your life, not just your day!”

2. He never left his kids’ side when it mattered most.

Chasten (left) and Pete Buttigieg (right) holding their newborn children
Instagram The Buttigieg family

Pete and his husband, Chasten, received word in 2021 that a woman who had just given premature birth to newborn twins wanted to put them up for a “surprise adoption.”

“Within hours of that first call, we stood in disbelief as morning sunlight beamed through the window of a hospital room, overflowing with indescribable joy as we held our newborn children in our arms for the first time,” the couple co-wrote in a Medium post narrated in Pete Buttigieg’s voice.

The newborns — named Penelope Rose and Joseph August “Gus” Buttigieg — each weighed less than five pounds and seemed so “tiny… utterly vulnerable and dependent,” the fathers wrote to mark the twins’ first birthday.

It turned out that the children had contracted respiratory syncytial virus, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. But the couple never left their infants’ sides throughout the difficult time.

“In one year,” the couple reflected, “you go from someone absorbed in your own worries, hopes, and career, to having fully faced just how much in life is outside your control — and how magical it is to spend every day with someone who matters more to you than your old self could possibly have dreamed of.”

3. He brought his work home with him in the best way possible for Halloween.

We’ll admit we love a good dad joke, especially if it comes with an endearing costume.

In a delightful blend of humor and personal passion, Buttigieg adorably dressed his kids up as “infrastructure” for Halloween in 2021.

This creative costume choice not only showcased Buttigieg’s playful side but also cleverly highlighted his role as U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

The children, decked out in charming outfits representing traffic cones, brought a smile to many faces and provided a lighthearted take on the importance of infrastructure.

The costumes were a hit, reflecting Buttigieg’s ability to connect his professional life with personal moments, and underscoring his commitment to making infrastructure a relatable and engaging topic for all.

4. And his next Halloween was simply stellar.

It turns out Pete is a huge fan of space travel, so his and his husband’s decision to salute NASA for Halloween in 2022 was out of this world.

The couple suited their adorable twin babies in NASA onesies for the one-year-olds’ second not-so-Spooky Season celebration.

“Have a happy and safe Halloween, cadets!” Chasten tweeted along with a photo of the kiddos. Secretary Buttigieg later retweeted the post from his personal account.

5. He went full gay dad to defend all kids.

pete-buttigieg-gop-republican-anti-lgbtq-attacks Richmond,,Virginia/united,States,¬Äì,June,15,,2019:,Democratic,Presidential,Hopeful
Shutterstock Pete Buttigieg in 2019

Buttigieg called out hypocrisy when Florida passed its “Don’t Say Gay” law, restricting LGBTQ+ discussions in classrooms in 2022, asserting that, “Part of what it means to be pro-family, is to be pro-every family.”

“The reason [it’s dangerous] is that it tells youth who are different or whose families are different that there’s something wrong with them out of the gate,” he said, adding that such laws can negatively impact the mental well-being of LGBTQ+ youth.

We love to see Pete in dad mode, especially when there’s so much at stake.

6. He stood up for paternity leave.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg had strong words for those who criticized him for taking paternity leave to raise his newborn children.

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without federal paid family leave and it’s harming kids, parents, workplaces, and making the entire country less competitive, Buttigieg said. That didn’t stop some from taking issue with Pete opting to take time off to be there for his newborn twins.

During an appearance on The View in 2021, the show’s panelists asked Buttigieg what he thought about recent right-wing attacks on his taking paternity leave.

“Every American ought to be able to get paid parental leave,” he said. “That’s something the President believes and has proposed. It’s something I believe. It ought to be basic.” The audience applauded his comment.

7. He knew how to talk to kids even before he became a dad.

Pete Buttigieg addressing the crowd
via YouTube

Back when Pete Buttigieg was running for president in 2019, he gave a girl some advice for dealing with bullies. At a campaign stop in Iowa City, he drew questions from a fishbowl and pulled one from 11-year-old Rebecca Johann: “Do you have any advice about bullying?”

He started by saying that it’s important to talk about it, and went on to relate his own history with bullying.

“I had experiences with bullying when I was growing up,” he shared. “Everybody who’s different can be bullied. And the secret is – everybody’s different in some way.“

“The first thing you’ve got to know is you have nothing to be ashamed of,” he advised.

“And the second part, this is a much harder part to remember, is that the person who is bullying you probably has something a little broken in them, and it’s part of why they’re trying to get your attention.”

8. He believes gratitude is everything.

Pete Buttigieg’s journey into fatherhood was fraught with challenges, which makes his commitment to gratitude all the more heartwarming.

In a 2022 Thanksgiving post on Instagram, Pete shared a message that warmed his followers’ hearts.

“I’m thankful for this holiday filled with family & food, and I’m particularly grateful for time with these two who keep me on my toes in all the best ways,” he wrote. “I hope everyone is celebrating well and safely. From our family to yours, #happythanksgiving.”

9. His home video skills are strong.

Buttigieg has a knack for capturing life’s sweetest moments. To celebrate the twins’ second birthday in 2023, he posted a video and message showing his ability to find joy in the everyday.

“Hard to believe they’re two already. We’re so thankful for them – and for the friends and family we count on in so many ways,” he wrote alongside an adorable clip of his kids, Penelope and Gus, running in a park.

By preserving these memories, Buttigieg not only shared a glimpse of his personal life but also highlighted the importance of cherishing and documenting the simple, heartfelt experiences that define our lives.

10. When he showed his priorities are just right.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg talks to the media during his visit to the Brightline station in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 17, 2023.
GREG LOVETT/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg talks to the media in 2023

Pete gave an interview to Time Magazine in 2023 about how fatherhood has changed him, and he delivered a truly heartfelt response.

When asked if parenthood changed his sense of ambition, the ever-articulate politician revealed that, “When you have something in your life that matters in ways that your professional life — even a professional life like mine — just can’t measure up to, it means that there is much less risk of developing the weakness that so many people in politics get, which is depending on work as your source of meaning.”

“I have meaningful work and I want to continue having meaningful work,” he continued. “But if I ever didn’t, I would still have such a meaningful family life that I wouldn’t have to worry about it the way I might if this was all I had.”

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