- Chasten Buttigieg rebuked GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance for attacking the “childless left.”
- Buttigieg, who is trying to adopt a child with his husband Pete, called Vance’s comments “tactless”
- Vance argued the US’s falling birthrate is a “civilizational crisis” in a speech over the weekend.
Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, on Monday sharply rebuked Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance after the Republican attacked prominent Democrats who don’t have children in a speech over the weekend.
“Bringing a child into this world can be a long, difficult and often heartbreaking process for any family. Shame on @JDVance1 for this tactless take,” Buttigieg said in a tweet. “As a father, he should know better. As a wannabe Senator, it’s clear that empathy isn’t his strong suit.”
Speaking at a conservative conference, Vance accused the “childless left” of offering solutions to problems in the US without having any “physical commitment to the future of this country.”
“Why is this just a normal fact of … life for the leaders of our country to be people who don’t have a personal and direct stake in it via their own offspring?” he said on Friday during a conference hosted by the right-leaning think tank Intercollegiate Studies Institute, The Guardian reported.
Vance, the best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” singled out high-profile Democrats, including Sec. Buttigieg, Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, The Guardian reported. He later called liberal economist Paul Krugman, who doesn’t have children, a “weird cat lady” in a tweet.
Harris has two stepchildren with her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff. Booker’s girlfriend, actor Rosario Dawson, has an adopted daughter, and Ocasio-Cortez, who is 31, is in a long-term relationship and doesn’t have children.
The Buttigiegs also don’t have children, but Chasten revealed in a Washington Post profile published Monday that he and his husband have been trying to adopt a child for the last year.
—Chasten Glezman Buttigieg (@Chasten) July 26, 2021
The couple have put their name on adoption lists, participated in parenting workshops and “gotten close” to discussing baby names, The Post reported. Chasten told the outlet that, about two weeks ago, they received notice of a birth mother who wanted to put her baby for adoption. The couple was in the midst of trying to clear their schedules and travel to the hospital where she was giving birth when the she changed her mind.
“It’s a really weird cycle of anger and frustration and hope,” Chasten told The Post. “You think it’s finally happening and you get so excited, and then it’s gone.”
He said he hopes to one day tell his future children, “We tried so hard for you. We waited so long for you.”
Vance’s comments were part of his broader argument — one popular among social conservatives — that the US is facing a “civilizational crisis” as a result of falling birthrates.
“We should worry that in America, family formation, our birthrates, a ton of indicators of family health have collapsed,” Vance said.
Demographers and economists have a range of views about how the US’s declining birthrate — a longer-term trend that’s been accelerated by the pandemic — will impact the American economy and society.
Most Democrats are less concerned with boosting the birthrate and more concerned with alleviating child poverty, economic inequality, and racial disparities. Democratic lawmakers passed a significant expansion of the child tax credit through President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and experts predict the new monthly checks and tax relief will cut child poverty in half. Vance didn’t mention the expanded child credit, which amounts to a tax cut for most American families, but he’s explicitly opposed other Democratic family policies, including Biden’s universal daycare proposal.