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Pete Buttigieg Looks All Done

Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. By Gage Skidmore.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Republicans are getting out the long, sharp political knives for Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one-time presidential candidate has at least one GOP lawmaker crying foul.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is furious at Buttigieg for a long list of wrongs including the secretary’s latest inaction after a train derailment and chemical spill in Ohio.

Rubio wants Buttigieg gone.

Rubio Says ‘Resign Now Pete’

Rubio wrote a letter to President Joe Biden requesting Buttigieg resign for his alleged faults and foibles that center around a theme of the transportation head failing to protect the American people.

“Secretary Buttigieg refused to acknowledge the disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, until his intentional ignorance was no longer tenable,” Rubio wrote.

Ohio Train Derailment Is Massive Government Failure

Rubio charged Pete Buttigieg with failing to ensure the country’s rail system is safe. The February 3 toxic train derailment in Ohio included around 150 cars attached to a Norfolk Southern locomotive. Ten wrecked cars released their hazardous materials. People living around the wreck were evacuated and the cleanup is ongoing. The environmental impact is still being measured with local streams and creeks suffering the most damage. Plus the train released a chemical called vinyl chloride that can cause cancer.

Pete Buttigieg Blames Trump

Pete Buttigieg said the rail system he inherited from former President Donald Trump constrained his action to remedy it.

The secretary also claimed that his department was using funds from the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill from 2021 to increase the level of rail safety.

Rubio said Buttigieg has exhibited a “gross level of incompetence and apathy” during his tenure.

The Florida Senator Roasts Buttigieg

That’s not all.

Rubio mentioned in the letter that Buttigieg failed to deal with a national crisis when Southwest Airlines cancelled thousands of flights in December.

Buttigieg has also wasted taxpayer money on private jet flights, according to the senator.

Rubio charged the secretary for failing to deal with national supply chain problems and going on vacation in locales such as Portugal at inopportune times. Rubio said Pete Buttigieg was missing in action during a rail strike.

Democrats Blast Mayor Pete Too

Rubio is not the only lawmaker admonishing Buttigieg.

Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington has also piled on to the transportation head. At a hearing conducted by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Cantwell made her frustrations heard.

Buttigieg was taken to task for his appearance of inactivity during the Southwest Airlines fiasco mentioned above. Cantwell said during the hearing that “This sector needs a more effective policeman on the beat. They need someone over at the Department of Transportation who is going to get the job done.”

Senator Ted Cruz, no Pete Buttigieg fan, said that the secretary was “notably absent during the hearing.” Cruz demanded to know why the Department of Transportation delivered no apologies or refunds for the canceled flights.

Sanders and His Ally Are Critical Too

Vermont’s Bernie Sanders was also critical of the department. Additionally, a top Sanders supporter during the 2020 presidential election was steaming mad at Buttigieg. Nina Turner blasted the secretary in this tweet.

“What’s happening with the railroads, airlines and the supply chain is a result of a small city mayor being made the Secretary of Transportation as a means to pad his resume for President,” she tweeted. “Secretary Buttigieg is a prime example of failing up.”

Stop the Bleeding

Pete Buttigieg will need to conduct damage control on Capitol Hill as some legislators are still mad at his lack of concentration on the matters at hand. He leaves some wondering that he was unprepared for such a significant job that affects millions of Americans. Now is the time to stop the bleeding and convince the public that he is up to the task.

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One more incident in which he is caught unawares could convince Biden to dismiss him and demand his resignation. Which in presidential politics means Biden would say, “I have complete confidence and faith in my cabinet secretary.” That’s when Washington will know things are looking even bleaker for Pete Buttigieg.

Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.