A GOP senator says Republican lawmakers are frustrated with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg because he wants ‘everything to be climate and politically correct’

Shelley Moore Got it

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has raised concerns about Pete Buttigieg’s tenure as Transportation secretary.AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

  • Hill Republicans are increasingly voicing their issues with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

  • Sen. Capito told The Hill that Buttigieg had a “push” for everything “to be climate and politically correct.”

  • The Department of Transportation has defended Buttigieg’s performance in handling recent crises.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has made it his mission to champion President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, traveling to various sites across the country to everything major projects that have gotten off the ground thanks to the legislation.

But he has also had to tackle an array of major crises, including the Southwest Airlines system meltdown that affected roughly 2 million travelers in late December, a Federal Aviation Administration system outage that wreaked havoc on flights in January, and a February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that resulted in the release of toxic chemicals into the air.

Buttigieg has sought to reassure Americans that his department is working closely with officials and lawmakers regarding each of the respective incidents, but many Republicans in Congress have so far not been enthralled with his job performance. The GOP lawmakers have expressed dismay with what they say is outreach that is insufficient compared to other members of Biden’s cabinet.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who represents a state with vast rural expanses and critical infrastructure needs, told The Hill that Buttigieg’s “philosophical push for everything to be climate and politically correct” is at the center of issues that Republican lawmakers have raised.

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“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 told the publication. “He’s just not leading and I think that’s the frustration.”

Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota told The Hill that Buttigieg’s management style 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 a time like that,” the senator said. “I think part of it too is just the efforts 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.”

Pete Buttigieg

Secretary Buttigieg has been a vocal champion of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law.AP Photo/John Minchillo

Other Republican lawmakers, notably Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have been critical of Buttigieg for what they’ve said was his lack of visibility immediately after the East Palestine derailment.

“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,” Cruz told reporters last week, referencing the expectation that Buttigieg will run for the presidency again someday. (Buttigieg ran for president in 2020 and performed strongly in Iowa and New Hampshire before faltering in South Carolina and exiting the race.)

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Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio during a recent appearance on the Real America’s Voice suggested impeaching Buttigieg over his response to the train derailment.

“I hope he does resign, and if he doesn’t, there’s a long list of impeachment criteria,” Davidson told the outlet.

Democrats contend that the criticism of Buttigieg is purely political.

“Before, if you got your flight delayed, you weren’t like ‘oh that damn Elaine Chao,'” a Democratic operative told The Hill, referring to former President Donald Trump’s transportation secretary. “That’s the downside that comes with being such a good public figure.”

The Department of Transportation has stood by its response as it works with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Environmental Protection Agency, remarking that the department and staffers “were on the ground hours after the derailment” to aid the NTSB in their investigation .

“It’s no surprise to see some playing politics with every crisis, even something as serious as the impacts of a global pandemic on our transportation systems or a train derailment,” a Department of Transportation spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the secretary was maintaining a “focus on getting results.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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