Everybody figured 38-year-old former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg would get a job in a theoretical Biden administration, and of course he has.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that President-elect Biden intends to nominate Buttigieg to be the next Secretary of Transportation. As the New York Times notes, with Buttigieg being a Navy veteran, many had figured he'd be an obvious choice for the Department of Veterans Affairs. But Biden is instead installing him in a department that is likely to play "a key part of the administration’s efforts to combat climate change with aggressive actions on emissions."
Buttigieg was an early frontrunner in the Democratic primaries, sharing victory in Iowa with Bernie Sanders, only to come in a distant fifth and not taking the lead in any other state. He bowed out fairly early in the contest, and as the Associated Press reports, Biden was then quick to make comparisons between Buttigieg and his late son Beau.
"To me it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman. And, like Beau, he has a backbone like a ramrod," Biden said during the March event, with Buttigieg standing behind him. "I promise you, over your lifetime, you’re going to end up seeing a hell of a lot more of Pete than you are of me."
Biden has yet to formally announce the nomination, but multiple sources confirmed it with both the AP and Reuters.
Buttigieg is the first openly LGBTQ person to be tapped for the Biden administration, and thus the news has already drawn praise from LGTBQ groups.
Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, tells the AP, "Pete’s nomination is a new milestone in a decades-long effort to ensure LGBTQ people are represented throughout our government — and its impact will reverberate well-beyond the department he will lead. It distances our nation from a troubled legacy of barring out LGBTQ people from government positions and moves us closer to the President-elect’s vision of a government that reflects America."
As the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana who by many accounts has long had his sights set on higher office, Buttigieg will now be put in charge of the nation's highways, railways, airports, and its struggling mass transit systems — which will likely all be in need of bailout funds as they emerge from this pandemic year. As a vocal fan of Amtrak, Biden has been expected to be an advocate for transit, in addition to his pledging to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure improvements aimed at combating climate change.
Buttigieg is filling shoes that were initially expected to be filled by former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who was instrumental in the distribution of stimulus funds to the transportation sector during the last financial crisis, under President Obama. But as the AP notes, Biden got pushback from progressives and social justice activists over Emanuel's handling of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald — a high-profile 2014 case during his tenure as mayor for which the officer responsible is only expected to serve four years in prison. McDonald was shot 16 times after refusing to drop a knife he was carrying and acting erratically while walking down a city street.
In other major Biden-related news Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [spit to the side] has finally acknowledged Biden's Electoral College win, finally congratulated him and Vice President-elect Harris, and is finally urging other Republicans to stop challenging the results of the election in order to curry favor with Trump supporters.
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