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Pete Buttigieg Is Destroying Himself

Pete Buttigieg
Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking with attendees at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Pete Buttigieg has seen his share of crisis after crisis over the last few months. But blaming Donald Trump for his most recent challenges is a serious mistake. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has blamed the Trump administration, in part, for a recent train derailment in Ohio (the train was carrying vinyl chloride, a dangerous colorless gas).

Specifically, Pete Buttigieg said that while the DOT had taken steps to improve rail safety (with “historic investments”), the DOT was nonetheless constrained.


Because in 2018, the Trump administration withdrew a rule proposal (made in 2015) that required trains carrying certain chemicals use electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes.

“In the wake of the East Palestine derailment and its impact on hundreds of residents, we’re seeing lots of newfound or renewed (and welcome) interest in our work on rail safety, so I wanted to share more about what we’ve been doing in this area,” Buttigieg tweeted.

“We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe. And of course, I’m always ready to work with Congress on furthering (or in some cases, restoring) our capacity to address rail safety issues.”

Is Donald Trump to blame?

Buttigieg’s claim that Trump-era decisions have left him constrained doesn’t quite hold up.

First of all, even if we take Buttigieg’s premise at face value, that Trump rescinded a rule in 2018, Pete Buttigieg has been Secretary of Transportation for two years. Buttigieg’s boss, President Joe Biden, has overseen the executive branch for two years.

Could not Buttigieg and Biden have reinstated whatever rules the Trump administration rescinded? Was something legally barring Buttigieg from reinstating whatever rule he is now criticizing Trump for rescinding? Or has Buttigieg been working to reinstate the rule but two years was insufficient time?

I’ve got questions – and they all treat Buttigieg’s hand in this skeptically. He is the reigning Secretary of Transportation, after all.

The law in question, passed by Congress in 2015, required the executive branch to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the ECP brake rule before enacting it. The Trump administration “used the law to kill the braking rule, but the cost-benefit analysis his administration used to do so was subsequently discredited,” The Lever reported. So, couldn’t Buttigieg reinstate?

Second, I don’t find Buttigieg’s premise fully convincing. Was Trump solely to blame? Or does the problem perhaps trace back further? Maybe to the Obama administration?

“Though the Obama administration did originally enact a rule requiring those better brakes on some trains,” The Lever reported, “its regulators sided with lobbyists and ignored the National Transportation Safety Boards’ (NTSB) request that the safety rules apply to rail cars carrying the kinds of dangerous, flammable chemicals onboard the Ohio train. Under the rules weakened by both the Obama and Trump administration’s decisions, [the chemical-carrying train in Ohio that derailed] was not being regulated as a ‘high-hazard flammable train.’”

Pete Buttigieg Needs to Accept Responsibility

Blaming Trump is the easiest play in the book; in liberal circles, blaming Trump can work for just about any situation, in any setting.

And I’m sure, in Buttigieg’s current setting, the Trump administration made decisions that cut against the interests of safety.

But Pete Buttigieg and the Biden administration need to own up to their own contributions to the problem.

Blaming Trump here isn’t a great look. Buttigieg has had the opportunity to make changes and he hasn’t.

“We had hoped to see [the ECP] issue move forward under the Biden administration,” Kristen Boyles, a managing attorney at Earthjustice, said. “It’s not clear that it’s a priority.”

BONUS: The Fall of Joe Biden Has Started  

BONUS: Donald Trump Looks At His End 

BONUS: Kamala Harris Should Quit 

BONUS: A Nuclear War over Ukraine?

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.



  1. Dr. B

    February 20, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    He needs to resign.

  2. Bryce Squires

    February 20, 2023 at 5:50 pm

    Actually it was a broken axle that caused the derailment. Besides the gas in those cars was not one that the 2015 rule would have applied to.

  3. Vj

    February 23, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    Your articles are just opinions. Trump has been a loser, dumb and a failure for 70yrs. He overturned 100 environmental regulations that were put in place. He never really repaired Flint Michigan water pipes after he got into office. Stop hyping a loser.
    He’s father even said he was a loser. Although Biden is not all to end all, he’s better than 3 Republicans on a sunny day. I always reference this New Republican party to President’s Johnson quote. He was right, just convince these idiots that they are better than anyone else and you can have all their money and votes. The civil war proved it. The poor south fought a war to keep slavery under state rights and was never given a job,lost the war and are still poor today where as the north only fought to preserve the union. Now a GOPer wants the Red states to secede from the union. They are too stupid to realize that it’s the blue states that keeps them alive. However Buttigieg isn’t all that great and just a political appointment. He will never be President of the US, maybe somewhere else.
    P.s. I suppose Jared and Ivanka are more honest then Hunter Biden.????????. Let’s hope MBS, doesn’t do a repeat. But then again,he’s not that bright either.

  4. Greg Becker

    February 25, 2023 at 9:39 pm

    Republicans are afraid of Pete Buttigieg. We get it. You feel like you are doing your part for MAGA by writing this piece.

    The good news is that this piece is so horribly written no one will take it seriously or share. Weak arguments, guesswork, what-ifs, and lack of any substance are what we read here.

    It sounds like you have some other talents. I encourage you to explore those in your next line of employment.

  5. Alec Ordway

    February 26, 2023 at 8:19 am

    Pete is a very caring and competent leader,and you trying to whitewash trump’s involvement is just wrong. To clean up the rightwinger’s entire deregulation and campaign of lies will take more than two years. I mean do you want another trump or worse gop-nazis back in our WH and more in our other branches?

  6. JL

    February 27, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    The sentence in this article that I find triggering is this:

    “But Pete Buttigieg and the Biden administration need to own up to their own contributions to the problem.”

    How did they “contribute” to the issue?

    I believe the sentence should focus on how they take ownership now that they own the situation. It is not clear how they contributed. FEMA is NOT responsible to compensate those harmed by this corporation.

    Citizens United needs to be repealed, corporations must be held accountable for their actions and negative impacts on society. They should not be allowed to contribute to PACs, lobbying needs to be revamped (access to politicians), real cost of manufacture should be built into markets (polution, risk, etc).

    This like so many other topics discussed is not simple, nor easy. This is why we elect leaders rather than pundits.

  7. Trish Kinner

    March 1, 2023 at 5:50 am

    I have voted Democratic for almost 50 years, with one exception – Ronald Reagan. I am so sick of Trump – wish he would just go away. He was responsible for the Insurrection, and is largely supported by Separatists, Supremacists, and Militia members. If one talks to a Trump supporter, many if not most supporters belong to one of the three aforementioned groups. My late brother was a cop. He was also a bigoted Chauvinist. We often argued because I am open-minded. He was not. I love all people, regardless of color and sexual orientation, not just Caucasians. We are all here for the same reasons. Why is it necessary to celebrate misfortune when it hits other groups? How much happier would most people be if we all treated one another with dignity and respect? John Lennon was right with the words behind ‘Imagine’. Unfortunately, it will never happen.

  8. Philip Young

    March 1, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    Kass’ analysis is right on. Pete Buttigieg lack of any successful management experience, which has been evident ever since he announce his bid for the Presidency, is showing itself in spades. We need to restart the practice of holding government and non-government officials accountable for gross failures. No one is ever fired, fined or goes to jail in the government, regardless of whether they lie to Congress under oath or not, or for terribly botched actions or inactions. Mayor Pete should GO!

  9. jeff

    March 17, 2023 at 9:38 pm

    whjo is to blame will always rest on the current leaders. If a bank looses your money under a bank president, do you fight the bank president that is no longer there to get it back, the answer is no. it is the responsibility of the current officials to run things with a current day eye. Pete , will be remembered not just for his ill knowledge of transportaion, but for his running away from a situation when things got tough. By any chance , has he been to ohio yet? I havent looked in the last 1.5 weeks.

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