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Pete Buttigieg is one of the few Biden administration officials who regularly appears on Fox News—sparring adeptly with the conservative network’s hosts despite what are often leading lines of questioning.
The transportation secretary suited up for battle again on Thursday night when he deftly confronted host Bret Baier for trying to drum up a scandal about bringing his husband on an official trip abroad.
“You also brought your husband Chasten on a military aircraft to attend a sporting event in the Netherlands,” Baier said, conveniently leaving out the fact that the couple was leading an official delegation to the Invictus Games, a high-profile international competition for wounded veterans.
“That’s quite a spin to put on it,” Buttigieg replied with a smile. Asked if the trip was reimbursed, he shot back, “Of course not!”
Buttigieg, himself a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, went on to calmly explain that he was leading a presidential delegation to support wounded warriors and injured Americans service members—a trip that countless other Cabinet members and presidents have made before (along with their respective spouses).
“It was one of the great honors of my time in this job,” he said. “And the diplomatic protocol on a presidential delegation is that the principal is often accompanied by their spouse.”
“Here’s what I want you to understand,” Buttigieg said, telling Baier that before him every administration official who led that same delegation was accompanied by their wife, including the partner of Trump’s former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and first ladies Michelle Obama and Melania Trump.
“And I guess the question on my mind is, if no one is raising questions about why Secretary Esper and his wife led that delegation, as well they should have,” he concluded, “then why is it any different when it’s me and my husband?”
All Baier could muster in response was, “Understood.”