TRAIN WRECK: All the Transportation Scandals on Pete Buttigieg's Watch

'Who would have thought the mediocre mayor of Indiana’s fourth-largest city would not be a good choice to run the Department of Transportation?'

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February 18, 2023

What happened: Enemy of Freedom™ Pete Buttigieg launched a failed campaign for president of the United States at the age of 37 after serving two terms as mayor of South Bend, the fourth-largest city in Indiana. He was adored by journalists and other out-of-touch white Democrats due to his youthful nerdy gayness and Obama-esque ability to regurgitate platitudes.

Buttigieg's popularity in the irrelevant early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire gave his campaign a veneer of success, prompting these adoring journalists and out-of-touch white Democrats to anoint him (without evidence) as a "rising star" of American politics who will definitely be president someday. (Fact check: He won't.)

Despite the former mayor's conspicuous lack of qualifications, President Joe Biden made Buttigieg the U.S. secretary of transportation in order to boost the whippersnapper's meager résumé and add some "diversity" to an administration stacked with Ivy League nerds.

Buttigieg has since presided over a number of transportation-related scandals that reflect rather poorly on his leadership skills. Nevertheless, the alleged wunderkind continues to be lovingly profiled by journalists who rave about his "star power," his humble weekend strolls among the "artisanal stalls at Eastern Market," and his ability to recite talking points on television.

Fact Check: Pete Buttigieg Is a 'Michael Jordan-Level Cable TV Guest'

Why it matters: Most non-journalist Americans believe our political leaders should be judged on their actual records, not on their youthful nerdy gayness, their mastery of platitudes, or their ability to converse in pigeon Norwegian.

Buttigieg's actual record as transportation secretary is not great. Here are some of the scandals he allowed to happen on his watch:

• Toxic train derailment scandal—A train carrying hazardous materials derailed earlier this month in East Palestine, Ohio. The rail company, Norfolk Southern, performed a controlled burn of the substance vinyl chloride, sending a plume of pungent black smoke over the town. One of the toxic gases released into the air as a result of the burn, Phosgene, was used as a chemical weapon during World War I. Fish are dying in local waterways; residents are panicked.

Buttigieg hasn't met with residents, but he did go on television this week to urge everyone to calm down. "While this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention, there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing," he said reassuringly, several hours after another train derailed outside Detroit.

Norfolk Southern may have caused "Chernobyl 2.0," but the residents of East Palestine (and all Americans) can take comfort in the company's unwavering passion for "inclusion" and "sustainable solutions."

• Airline cancellation chaos scandal—2022 was one of the worst years for (public) air travel in recent memory. The U.S. airline industry descended into chaos on Buttigieg's watch. Delays and cancellations surged along with ticket prices. The secretary assured the American public that the situation would "get better" before the busy holiday season. Alas, it did not. Airlines canceled tens of thousands of flights, stranding passengers and ruining their holiday plans. Earlier this year, flights were grounded nationwide after the Federal Aviation Administration suffered a system failure on Buttigieg's watch.

• Vacationgate—Buttigieg went on paid leave for almost two months in the fall of 2021 before the mainstream media took notice. The secretary was "mostly offline" as congressional negotiations over an infrastructure package fell apart and the supply-chain crisis threatened to ruin Christmas for millions of Americans. (He did, however, have time to attend the world premiere of the Mayor Pete documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival.) In August 2022, the secretary took a "personal trip" to Portugal at the height of tense negotiations with rail worker unions to avoid a potentially catastrophic strike.

Private jet privilege scandal—While normal Americans were suffering through the chaos at commercial airports, Buttigieg was flying all over the country in taxpayer-funded private jets like a real fancy boy while lecturing common folk about the dangers of climate change. He appears to have acquired a fetish for private air travel during his failed presidential campaign, but now that he's a government official it is American taxpayers (as opposed to his posh liberal donors) who are footing the bill.

• Electric car abomination scandal—Buttigieg has repeatedly scolded the American people for complaining about rising gas prices when they could simply buy an electric car for $70,000 and not have to worry about the price of gas. After returning from his secret paid leave in 2021, the secretary touted the department's purchase of Ford electric SUVs that were made in Mexico. Ford recalled the vehicle model months later due to a safety defect that "could result in a loss of power" and "cause a crash." Last fall, in a lurid demonstration of the "progress" liberals are trying to achieve, an electric vehicle sterilized an innocent man on Buttigieg's watch.

• Racist roads and other woke nonsense scandal—Buttigieg refuses to let his job—running a federal transportation department—distract him from his real priorities. For example, in an effort to combat America's "racist" highway system, the department allocated $1 billion to "build racial equity in roads." In December 2021, the FAA eliminated the phrase "Notice to Airmen" from its vocabulary, replacing it with "Notice to Air Mission," which the agency touted as more "inclusive." Additional FAA recommendations for "gender-neutral and inclusive aviation terminology" included replacing "airman" with "aircrew," "manned aviation" with "traditional aviation," and "cockpit" with "flight deck."

• Bikeghazi—Buttigieg scandalized the nation in February 2021 when photos and video surfaced of the secretary wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle to work. The Associated Press reported that his passion for riding bikes and looking like a total nerd was an example of how Buttigieg is just a "regular guy" (who also loves to fly on private jets and ride around in a convoy of SUVs to avoid public transportation.)

What they're saying:

• "What’s happening with the railroads, airlines & the supply chain is a result of a small city mayor being made the Secretary of Transportation as a means to pad his résumé for President. Secretary Buttigieg is a prime example of failing up."—Nina Turner

• "Who would have thought the mediocre mayor of Indiana's fourth-largest city would not be a good choice to run the Department of Transportation?"—Ari Rabin-Havt

• East Palestine resident at town meeting this week: "Where's Pete Buttigieg? Where's he at?" East Palestine mayor: "I don't know. Your guess is as good as [mine]. Yesterday was the first time I heard anything from the White House."—via Fox News

Bottom line: See above. Pete Buttigieg will never be president.

FACT CHECK: NYT Calls Pete Buttigieg a 'Star of Biden's Cabinet'