Democrat Pete Buttigieg has faced much support and opposition throughout his career, and his current stint as Transportation Secretary is no different. As Buttigieg has made it very clear that he seeks to champion the infrastructure law of U.S. President Joe Biden, —he has traveled to numerous sites across the nation, advocating for a plethora of major projects that have been able to take off because of the legislation.
Moreover, Buttigieg has been tasked with handling many other issues, such as a Federal Aviation Administration system outage that caused quite the trouble back in January, a Southwest Airlines system crash that impacted approximately two million flyers back in December, and a train derailment in February in East Palestine, Ohio, that lead to the release of toxic chemicals into the air.
And while Buttigieg has hoped to settle the general public with reassurances that his department is working tirelessly with lawmakers and officials to sort each incident out, many members of the GOP have been critical of his work. Republican lawmakers have expressed distaste for what they believe to be insufficient outreach on his part when compared to other member’s of Biden’s cabinet.
One such lawmaker was Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who represents a state with important infrastructure needs and a wide range of rural areas. While speaking with The Hill, she said that Buttigieg’s “philosophical push for everything to be climate and politically correct” is the reason so many Republicans have found themselves at odds with his job performance.
“We have practical matters we need to do like permitting and building new roads and having new constructions and he pretty much puts his foot down on a lot of that stuff,” she said. “He’s just not leading and I think that’s the frustration.”
Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota also expressed discontent with Buttigieg and his style of management, insisting that it wasn’t as “hands on” as other Biden officials.
“My sense is that he, like many others in the administration, are not the types of, sort of, hands on managers that you need at times like this,” he said. “I think part of it too is just the effort he makes. . . Some members of the cabinet, particularly on the relevant committees, the committees of jurisdiction, do a really good job of outreach, and I don’t get that from him.”
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also criticized Buttigieg for his lack of outreach, saying: “I understand that the secretary is politically ambitious, and he’d like to move to government housing in Washington right up the street, but he does have a job to do.”