The nation is reflecting on and mourning the events of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and of course, in anticipation of the anniversary of this stain on national history, Fox News has been eager to question why Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, traveled with him overseas.
Somehow, yes. That is, in fact, what Fox News host Bret Baier tried to pull on Thursday, Jan. 5. Baier asked why Buttigieg’s husband accompanied him to the 2021 Invictus Games (held in the Netherlands), which are the brainchild of Prince Harry. The games, which were founded in 2014, are for “wounded, injured, and sick” service members and attract international attention and participation.
What’s so unusual about Buttigieg (who is a veteran himself—remember, he served in Afghanistan) bringing his husband? Actually, nothing. And that’s what he expertly breaks down for both Baier and his audience.
The pair traveled to Rotterdam in a government plane. Baier frames this as Buttigieg bringing Chasten on a “military aircraft” to a “sporting event” overseas.
“That’s quite a spin to put on it,” Buttigieg says.
“Was that reimbursed?” Baier asks, referring to the travel costs associated with Buttigieg’s husband.
“Of course not,” Buttigieg replies. He added that he led a “presidential delegation to support American wounded warriors and injured service members—the Invictus Games as has been a tradition for many years. “
“The diplomatic protocol on a presidential delegation is that the principal is often accompanied by their spouse,” he continues. “It was a great trip. Incredible.”
“Here’s what I want you to understand,” Buttigieg replies. “Before me, it was the secretary of the Army under President Trump who took that trip with his wife. Before that, it was Mrs. Trump, as first lady, who went to the Invictus Games. Before that, Mrs. Obama did the same thing.”
“And I guess the question on my mind is, if no one’s raising questions about why Secretary [Mark] Esper and his wife led that delegation―as well they should have—then why is it any different when it’s me and my husband?”
“Understood,” was all Baier could muster.
You can watch that interaction here.
As Daily Kos has continued to cover, Buttigieg has had many, many appearances on Fox News—and many zingers. Covering Fox can be mixed bag; we don’t want to amplify hate or manufactured outrage for no reason, but it’s also valuable to highlight how Democrats and progressives manage to correct narratives and misinformation in front of Fox viewers. It’s one way of reaching people and (hopefully) helping them to see the holes in the stories they’re being fed by conservatives.
And it’s always important to remember that Buttigieg, for all of his privileges as a white, cisgender man, continues to be under attack by Fox simply because he is openly gay, as Baier’s line of questioning shows. It’s encouraging to see him cleanly and smoothly point out the homophobia conservatives are spewing, especially in the bigger picture of anti-queer and anti-trans efforts on both the state and federal levels.
What a way to start the new year! On the first episode of season two of The Downballot, we’re talking with Sara Garcia, the strategy and outreach manager at Crooked Media—home of Pod Save America—about everything her organization does to mobilize progressives and kick GOP ass. Sara tells us how Crooked arose to fill a void in the media landscape, how it not only informs listeners but also gives them tools to take action, and some of her favorite shows that she loves to recommend to folks.
Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard also discuss the Republican shitshow currently unfolding in Congress—and starkly different outcomes in two state legislatures that just elected new House speakers via bipartisan coalitions; the landslide win for the good guys in a special election primary in Virginia; why George Santos faces serious legal trouble that will very likely end with his resignation; and the massive pushback from progressive groups and labor unions against Kathy Hochul’s conservative pick to be New York’s top judge.
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