Politico Gets Raked Over Coals For Calling Pete Buttigieg ‘MIA’ During Paternity Leave

Chasten Pete Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg

Twitter/Pete Buttigieg

Politico drew fire from the Biden administration and got raked over the coals on Twitter for an article that characterized Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg as having been “MIA” — during his absence due to family leave.

Politico’s West Wing Playbook newsletter published the “scoop” that the cabinet member formerly known as Mayor Pete has been spending a few months getting to know the newborn twins that he and husband Chasten Buttigieg welcomed into their family.

But they did so using terms that many found objectionable, headlining the piece with the tired trope “Can Pete Buttigieg have it all?” and opening the piece by claiming that Buttigieg “has been MIA.”

While U.S. ports faced anchor-to-anchor traffic and Congress nearly melted down over the president’s infrastructure bill in recent weeks, the usually omnipresent Transportation secretary was lying low.

One of the White House’s go-to communicators didn’t appear on TV. He was absent on Capitol Hill during the negotiations over the bill he had been previously helping sell to different members of Congress.

The article goes on to explain that the absence was due to the family leave, and included praise from some advocates.

Members of the Biden administration and other allies slammed the article as insulting to working parents, and worse.

But it wasn’t just administration allies. Journalists, political and media figures, and others joined in,

Politico’s take did seem to attract some support — from the likes of Breitbart and Newsmax.

Politico’s Sam Stein took the super-duper-deadpan-satirical route by claiming that the term “MIA” is a totally neutral, even complimentary way to describe someone’s absence, and showed intense commitment to the bit by arguing it with the entire internet:

Stein even jousted a bit with White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, who slammed the piece and fired back at Stein’s defense of it.

Perhaps Stein would have been less confused had he subscribed to Politico’s West Wing Report newsletter, which published a statement from a DoT spokesperson explaining that “For the first four weeks, [Buttigieg] was mostly offline except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated,” and that “He has been ramping up activities since then.”

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