Biden and Secretary of State Blinken infamously decided that it would be a good time to go on vacation while the Taliban were conquering Afghanistan. Now even the media is noting that Buttigieg was on leave during the supply chain crisis.
While U.S. ports faced anchor-to-anchor traffic and Congress nearly melted down over the president’s infrastructure bill in recent weeks, the usually omnipresent Transportation secretary was lying low.
One of the White House’s go-to communicators didn’t appear on TV. He was absent on Capitol Hill during the negotiations over the bill he had been previously helping sell to different members of Congress. Conservative critics tried (unsuccessfully) to get #WheresPete to trend and Fox News ran a story on October 4 with the headline: “Buttigieg quiet on growing port congestion as shipping concerns build ahead of holidays.”
They didn’t previously announce it, but Buttigieg’s office told West Wing Playbook that the secretary has actually been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his partner Chasten, and their two adopted babies.
“For the first four weeks, he was mostly offline except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation. “He has been ramping up activities since then.” As he does that, Buttigieg will “continue to take some time over the coming weeks to support his partner and take care of his new children,” the spokesperson added.
This guy was running for president. Would he have gone on vacation for four weeks then? Probably.
Being the POTUS or a Cabinet member with a key position means that you don’t just get weeks of leave. It doesn’t work that way. You’re signing up for a job when you’re on call.
Buttigieg, despite having no apparent qualifications to do anything, got handed a job that’s usually not front and center, and he screwed that up. He seems to have spent his time riding a bike for photo ops, pushing a mileage tax, and then going on vacation.
Considering Buttigieg’s track record in South Bend this should surprise no one, except the media, which had been studiously ignoring his actual qualifications for higher office.
Mayor Buttigieg excels at buzzwords and gimmicks. He’s just terrible at actually running a city.
That’s why property crime in South Bend is rising. It’s why the city is overrun with gangs. It’s why South Bend is poor, blighted and miserable. Violence is just one of the many symptoms of Buttigieg’s failures.
South Bend’s top employers are the local schools and hospitals, and the local government. And a local casino. Unemployment and taxes are higher than average. Meanwhile the average income is below $20,000. The poverty rate is 25%. African-American poverty rates are double. Hispanic poverty rates are 10% higher than the national average. And even Asian-Americans are poorer than usual in South Bend.
No one ought to expect anything from Buttigieg, who’s been running for class president his entire life, or anyone in the Biden administration. But people at least expect them to show up for work during a crisis. I guess even that’s too high a bar.