By Andrej Žitnik (Nova24tv)
The Acting Director of the Government Communication Office, Dragan Barbutovski’s explanations related to the Prime Minister’s trip to Brussels, to which he brought his underaged son, are becoming more and more complicated. In a post on Twitter, he listed several examples of foreign states representatives, mostly nursing mothers, who came to international meetings and sessions of national parliaments with their babies, which is completely incomparable with the fact that Prime Minister Robert Golob took his underage son with him to an important session.
As the web portals Siol and Požareport recently reported, the Prime Minister also took his minor child with him to Brussels. Apparently, the Government Communication Office is in a state of emergency, as the Acting Director of the Office, Dragan Barbutovski himself, got engaged in the debates about this on his personal Twitter profile. In the official explanation, he said that “the role of Prime Minister requires significant adjustments in private and official life. Due to numerous trips abroad, the Prime Minister will occasionally take his family members on the trip with him.
In response to this, many Twitter users, of course, had lots of additional questions, and Barbutovski responded to them directly – but with his bizarre excuses, he probably made the Prime Minister’s life even more difficult instead of helping him out.
As an excuse for Golob’s “family trip” to Brussels, he listed some completely incomparable examples, such as:
When Prime Minister Janša was accompanied by his adult daughter on a single trip in 2012.
When the New Zealand populist leader Jacinda Arden brought her 3-month-old baby with her to a United Nations conference.
When a Swedish socialist brought her 5-month-old son to the national parliament and talked about the children in Yemen with him sitting in her lap.
When the British Prime Minister Tony Blair took a short leave of absence after the birth of his child.
When the US Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth brought her newborn to the Senate.
These cases are, of course, completely different. In the case of Prime Minister Janša, his daughter was an adult who decided to accompany the Prime Minister at her own expense. The Prime Minister was able to perform his role without any problems, as his adult daughter did not hinder him in any way, unlike Robert Golob, who was probably in a hurry to leave the meeting of European leaders in Brussels and return to the hotel, where the minor was waiting for him. In addition, Barbutovski has already announced that such “family trips” will apparently be a regular practice from now on.
And all of the other cases that Barbutovski listed are actually examples of young mothers who brought their children, who were still breastfeeding at the time, to parliament, as they could not find care for them, and also because mothers tend to spend more time with their children in their first few months, which, in the countries where they do not have extended maternity leave can be a real problem. Robert Golob probably does not identify as a woman, and even if he did, it is biologically impossible for him to breastfeed. For a wealthy man who has received millions in awards during his years of being the President of the Management Board of a privileged, state-owned economic hegemon, it would probably not be too difficult to find childcare for a few days. Equating Golob’s case to that of a breastfeeding mother is, in addition to everything else, also extremely offensive to working mothers.
Apparently, this caused a real panic in the Prime Minister’s Office, as nobody expected Slovenian officials in Brussels to betray Golob, given that most of them had voted for the left-wing parties. But perhaps even the leftists dislike Golob’s brutal way of leading the state. And now, the Government Communication Office is performing awkward manoeuvres to limit the damage caused by this scandal. For now, they can be happy that the mainstream media outlets are still deliberately ignoring this affair. If former Prime Minister Janša took his two underage sons with him to Brussels, the largest commercial television station, POP TV, would likely already frantically be looking for experts in state ethics and the Director of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, so they could explain their view on the matter, while Žan Dolajs and Nataša Markovič would already be gathering material for a new episode of the show Target (“Tarča”).