by Frank Holmes, reporter
Secretary Pete Buttigieg has come under fire… but probably not for the scandal you’re thinking of.
He waited weeks to look at the glowing fallout that a transportation accident lit up over the skies of East Palestine, Ohio.
He saw would-be vacationers spent nights on end at the airport when the flights got canceled all summer. Then, after he promised to fix it, the same thing happened over the holidays.
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But while they’re grounded, “Secretary Pete” always manages to get around in style, regularly zooming the skies on private jets—all on your dime.
It isn’t a one-time thing, and it isn’t free. Pete Buttigieg is on the Cabinet’s frequent flyer list.
Buttigieg has flown on private jets at taxpayers’ expense 18 separate times on seven trips since he took office in January 2021.
The flights for Buttigieg and the staffers he dragged along on his “business” junkets cost taxpayers $41,905.20, according to The Washington Post.
But where Buttigieg flew turned heads almost as much as how often he flew, and how much he spent.
Last April, he took what critics said amounted to a European vacation with his hubby, Chasten, supposed to represent the U.S. at the Fifth Invictus Games in Europe. (Ever heard of those?)
A few other times Buttigieg, who’s made no secret of the fact that he’d still like to be president one day, went to swing states—New Hampshire, Ohio, Minnesota, early primary state Nevada, and Florida—to stump for Biden’s trillion-dollar “Build Back Better” agenda.
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Flying a private jet when there’s no better alternative isn’t illegal once or twice…but 18 times made people wonder.
Federal laws allow Cabinet secretaries to travel on government aircraft, “but with restrictions” in order “to minimize cost and improve the management and use of Government aviation resources.”
Did Buttigieg force you to pay for his private travel?
Last December 16, “Senator Marco Rubio requested that we determine whether the Secretary’s use of Government aircraft for domestic and international travel complied with all applicable Federal regulations,” a February 27 memo written by the Department of Transportation principal assistant inspector general for audits and evaluations, Charles Ward.
Ward said Buttigieg is about to get audited—and not just for his time as Secretary of Transportation.
The IG report plans to look at Buttigieg’s use of government planes all the way back to January 31, 2017.
Watchdogs say it’s high time someone told Buttigieg to check his privilege.
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“Everyday Americans have faced unprecedented flight cancellations and disruptions, but Buttigieg has continued to fly private, even on a Coast Guard plane and even when commercial options were readily available,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust (APT), told Fox News.
So far, Buttigieg hasn’t come up with a very compelling response.
First, he asked voters to think of all the times he didn’t fly on the FAA fleet while Americans sat for hours in plastic chairs in the air lounge. His office said he flew commercial on 119 of the 138 total flights he’s taken in office.
Then Buttigieg tried to say he only flew on private jets to save you money. His jet-setting ways “helped to maximize efficiency and save thousands of taxpayer dollars,” the DOT wrote to Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa in January.
Now Buttigieg says he thinks the fact that the government is looking into more than six years of his travel history is absolutely fabulous.
He’s “glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest,” Buttigieg tweeted.
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Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest.
Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money. https://t.co/wUtBtjx9CT
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 27, 2023
Conservatives say an investigation isn’t enough: They want him gone, pronto.
Congressional Republicans have introduced a bill asking Buttigieg to resign.
“Over the last two years, Secretary Buttigieg has gone AWOL during multiple national crises,” said Congressman Mike Walz, R-Fla., who introduced the bill. “’From failing to immediately respond to last month’s major economic, environmental, and humanitarian disaster in East Palestine to neglecting his duties during a historic supply chain crisis, commercial flight crisis, rail worker strike, and so much more, Buttigieg has endangered and failed the American people time and time again.”
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“That’s why I am calling for his resignation,” Walz said.
Not even all of Buttigieg’s fellow Democrats buy his jet-flying, limousine-riding tenure.
“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 resume for President. Secretary Buttigieg is a prime example of failing up,” wrote Nina Turner, a far-Left former Ohio state senator who co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.
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 resume for President.
Secretary Buttigeig is a prime example of failing up.
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) December 28, 2022
But Turner is out of the mainstream of her party, according to a new survey.
Buttigieg has a 63 percent approval rating with his fellow Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll taken just after the State of the Union Address.
He has an incredible 51-point net positive view with Democrats.
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That either says a lot about how well he’s doing his job… or how out-of-touch Democrats are with the average American.
Which do you think it is?
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”