Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 40, may be looking to 2028 before he decides if he’s running for president. Buttigieg told CNN last fall that whether or not he runs for president was the farthest thing from his mind because his current focus is serving in the Biden administration.
“And that’s how I think about running for office. I’ve used that process to run for office before. And I’ve used that process that decision process to decide not to run for office before. And I know it sounds like the right thing to say politically, it is the right thing to say politically is also true, that I don’t know what the future looks like, or whether those stars will ever align in the future,” Buttigieg said. “What I do know is I already have a job, and it’s a great job.”
Pete Buttigieg: Part of the Biden Administration
His perceived incompetence in his current job could hang over his head should he decide to run.
Buttigieg received poor marks for his handling of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment as well as the handling of the Southwest meltdown in December.
Then the FAA experienced a nationwide shutdown of its Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) systems that guide air traffic and provides crucial information to pilots in January. It caused the first grounding of every flight in America since 9/11. In sum, 1,300 flights were canceled and a further 10,000 were grounded.
Buttigieg, aka “Mayor Pete,” mounted a strong run for the Democratic nomination in 2020. The then mayor of South Bend, Ind., ran on his military service in Afghanistan and was one of the first gay candidates to run for a major party’s nomination. He won the Democratic Iowa caucuses.
Republicans such as Newt Gingrich questioned his abilities.
“I think Buttigieg is a perfect example of the danger of setting up some kind of program that says we don’t care how competent you are. We care whether or not you fit some box we’ve created. He happened to be, I think, perfect for the Biden administration because he was the kind of person who represented, for the gay community, a unique appointment,” Gingrich told Fox News. “The problem was he’s incompetent. It’s not a question about his sexual orientation. It’s a question about competence.”
“He didn’t know how to respond when the entire air traffic control system was closed down for the first time since 9/11 … I mean, how many times, you know, in baseball, that’s three strikes. How many times do you have to watch him to realize that Buttigieg is a PR agent?”
Buttigieg is not without his defenders, who say that the former South Bend mayor is a political appointee, not a technical person who bears responsibility for the meltdowns of the transportation infrastructure that have happened on his watch.
“He’s the Secretary, a political appointee with no technical background in transportation,” Joseph Schofer, Emeritus Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University told Newsweek. “He was selected to be the policy lead, the cheerleader and defender for the administration’s initiatives in transportation. He is doing that, especially in advancing and advocating the IIJA—the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Act.”
A lot can happen between now and 2028. In all likelihood, Buttigieg’s controversial job performance will be forgotten by the primary voters by then. Buttigieg’s communication style will be more memorable in the Democratic debates, and Democratic voters likely will not remember or care about his missteps as transportation secretary.
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John Rossomando’s work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award in 2008 for his reporting.
Note: This piece has been updated to correct a factual error.