Pete Buttigieg isn't letting critics get in the way of how he parents, including Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation fired back at a clip in which Carlson mocks paternity leave.
"Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went," the "Tucker Carlson Tonight" host said in a segment Thursday.
Buttigieg welcomed twins Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg with husband Chasten in August.
"As you might imagine, we're bottle feeding and doing it at all hours of the day and night," Buttigieg told Tapper. "I'm not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of my premature newborn infant twins. The work that we are doing is joyful, fulfilling, wonderful work. It's important work."
As congress debates the idea of paternity leave, he adds that it's work that "every American ought to be able to do as they welcome a new child into their family... we're pretty much the only country left that doesn't have some kind of national policy for paid (family) leave... It is long past time to make it possible for every American mother and father to take care of their children when a new child arrives."
Earlier this month, the politician opened up about the joys and challenges of parenthood during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"It's been wonderful. It's everything people tell you to expect and more," Buttigieg, 39, said. "I think the biggest thing that's surprised me is just how much joy there is even sometimes in the hard parts."
He added, "Don't get me wrong — it's the most demanding thing I think I've ever done, that Chasten and I have ever taken on, but it's just amazing."
Before becoming a father, Buttigieg said he "used to think of 5 a.m. as early."
"Now I think of it as nap time if I'm lucky," Buttigieg said. "And yet, I catch myself grinning half the time… We're just over the moon."
Contributing: Cydney Henderson
The announcement: Pete Buttigieg, husband Chasten reveal birth of twins with sweet photo
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pete Buttigieg to Tucker Carlson: Paternity leave is 'important work'