Metro Weekly

Donald Trump Jr. Says Pete Buttigieg Only Got His Job Because He’s Gay

The former president's son attacks Transportation Secretary's qualifications, as well as his decision to take paternity leave last year.

Donald Trump Jr. – Photo: Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump Jr. went on a homophobic rant questioning Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s qualifications and mocking the openly gay cabinet member for taking paternity leave.

The eldest son of former president Donald Trump appeared on Newsmax’s Prime News on Wednesday, Feb. 22, where he was asked to comment on the Biden administration’s handling of a train carrying hazardous materials that derailed in eastern Ohio earlier this month.

The junior Trump said that “Joe [Biden] doesn’t give a crap” about the environmental turmoil and potential dangers facing the residents of East Palestine, Ohio — who were temporarily forced to evacuate the area after the derailment — and “couldn’t care less” about the situation on the ground.

He then shifted the conversation to attack Buttigieg for his handling of the crisis. He claimed the cabinet member had no qualifications for the job and then implied that Buttigieg was only selected for his current role to meet a diversity quota.

“You know, Pete has no business in that position,” he said. “But, you know, he’s the guy who had no business running for president but they let him do that cause he’s gay and they check off a box and then he didn’t win, so [they said] ‘he’s the gay guy, so we gotta give him something, let’s make him transportation secretary.'”

Trump Jr. went on: “Plus the time he spent chest-feeding while we were in the midst of a supply chain crisis,” he blathered, referring to Buttigieg taking official paternity leave in 2021 to help care for twins he and husband Chasten had recently adopted.

Trump’s reference to “chest-feeding” is an anti-LGBTQ trope referencing a “politically correct” term for nursing, which right-wing and left-wing anti-transgender groups claim “erases” women from child-rearing if a person merely acknowledges the biological ability of people assigned female at birth — including trans and nonbinary individuals — to become pregnant and nurse.

While Buttigieg has never made any comment about nursing the twins, anti-LGBTQ social media users shared an image — later determined to have been digitally altered to spread misinformation — of Buttigieg using a breast-shaped nursing device.

Despite being debunked, the misinformation from the photo has been gleefully repeated and circulated by right-wing trolls and members of Congress in order to discredit Buttigieg for becoming “woke.”

Beyond the trans-specific implications of his comment, Trump’s remarks to Newsmax also mock and belittle the very idea of “paternity leave” based on the idea that any male individual who acts as the primary child-rearer — and especially those in gay relationships — is either lazy, insufficiently “masculine,” or undeserving of taking advantage of such benefits. (It should also be noted that some of the same people also argue against the idea of workplace maternity-leave policies.)

Despite Trump’s assertion that Buttigieg’s only qualification for a cabinet appointment was his homosexuality, the 41-year-old Buttigieg has previously served as a two-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana, graduated from Harvard, and served in the U.S. military. 

Buttigieg, who traveled to East Palestine last week, has been criticized for not visiting the area earlier, providing an opening for Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, to travel to East Palestine and criticize the Biden administration’s response to the environmental and health crises stemming from the derailment.

The elder Trump handed out Trump-branded water bottles and “Make America Great Again” hats during the visit.

Critics of the former president have accused him of seeking to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and significantly deregulate environmental protections, as well as weakening rail safety rules.

“Trump shredded the safety regulations that could have kept East Palestine residents safe and then rolled into town with Trump water and a campaign slogan,” the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican PAC tweeted. “He’s as useless now as he was as a president.”

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