Former Reagan White House staffer defends Pete Buttigieg against MAGA Republicans: 'The vilest form of masculinity'
Veteran conservative columnist and former Reagan White House staffer Mona Charen has a long history of identifying as "pro-life" and has often been an outspoken critic of feminism (at least parts of it). But Charen, who supported now-President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, is also a blistering critic of former President Donald Trump and the MAGA movement. And Charen, in an article published by The Bulwark on November 10, defends Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg against attacks from MAGA Republicans — and finds herself agreeing with feminists that Trumpism represents a "toxic" brand of masculinity.
"When it was revealed that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was taking four weeks of paternity leave to care for the newborn twins he and his husband had adopted," Charen explains, "the right-wing death eaters were scathing…. Tucker Carlson mocked Buttigieg on his Fox show…. And QAnon-adjacent Lauren Boebert, who is an elected member of the House of Representatives because, I guess, we are being cosmically punished, popped off with some non sequitur about how she had given birth to one of her four children in a truck, and so, therefore, people shouldn't take time to bond with their kids?"
Charen continues, "Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted his disapproval of Buttigieg…. Always trawling for a big cultural fish to land, Sen. Josh Hawley has taken up the defense of masculinity."
"They have embraced the vilest form of masculinity\u2014strutting, bullying, disrespectful, selfish, vain, childish, and reckless, not to mention philandering and sexually assaulting." Welcome to the Daddy Wars https://www.thebulwark.com/welcome-to-the-daddy-wars/\u00a0\u2026 via @BulwarkOnline— Mona Charen (@Mona Charen) 1636542770
I\u2019m honored to serve as Secretary of Transportation and help build the kind of infrastructure that creates jobs, empowers all, and keeps travelers & workers safe.\n\nIt\u2019s time to get to work.— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@Secretary Pete Buttigieg) 1612363605
Charen agrees with Hawley that the term "toxic masculinity" is "unhelpful," adding that "there has been a tendency in progressive circles to pathologize normal boyishness and to disdain everything associated with 'traditional masculinity.'" But the former Nancy Reagan speechwriter goes on to say that the MAGA movement does nothing to help the cause of "family values" by mindlessly worshipping Trump.
"Here is the bigger problem with the conservative critique on masculinity and family issues: Hawley and Cotton and Carlson and Boebert and their crew all pay lip service to family values while lashing themselves to the Greatest Toxic Male in American history," Charen argues. "They have embraced the vilest form of masculinity: strutting, bullying, disrespectful…. And Hawley and Co. mock Buttigieg? He's doing the hands-on work of fatherhood. If more American men were deeply involved in raising their children, many of the problems that worry social conservatives would be drastically reduced."
Charen adds, "These avatars of manliness are confirming the worst suspicions of feminists, and moving us further from the goal that both sides should embrace: repairing marriage, decency and family stability."
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