Pete Buttigieg concluded a tumultuous week by joining Fox News’ “Special Report” Friday evening to discuss the supply chain crisis.
I’m less concerned about him taking paternity leave and more concerned with the fact that it was secret paternity leave during a major crisis he was supposed to be addressing and his leave was only announced AFTER media started asking where he was.
That’s bizarre. https://t.co/vVaqh408ZO
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) October 15, 2021
If the Secretary of Transportation had been focused on solving the supply chain problem back in July then we wouldn’t be in this deep of a crisis.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) October 15, 2021
Politico broke news of the Transportation secretary’s absence, noting: “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 husband, Chasten, and their two newborn babies.”
The left-leaning outlet also noted that in the last eight days Buttigieg has appeared on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and an NPR podcast.
Finally he sat down with Bret Baier on the show that dominates cable news.
President Joe Biden recently announced plans to keep the bustling Port of Los Angeles open round the clock to address cascading problems, but Baier noted that the move might be “too little too late.”
“No, but as you heard, the president said this has the potential to be a game-changer,” Buttigieg replied, acknowledging there’s a truck driver shortage. “It’s going to have to be part of a number of steps, as the report just now showed. A lot of things have to go right, but the announcement that these ports would go 24/7, that’s a big part of it.”
Baier followed up by asking, “You could see this coming down the road for a while, couldn’t you, Mr. Secretary?”
Buttigieg said over the summer he “convened pretty much the entire ecosystem of supply chain actors who work around those west coast ports” and they planned to pursue expansion of hours and “new levels of urgency around the supply chain.”
“These issues didn’t emerge overnight, which is why not only do we have these near-term steps we’ve been taking and coordinating with the private sector on, but also the need for a comprehensive infrastructure bill,” the 2020 presidential candidate claimed.
Buttigieg seemed as or more interested in discussing the “comprehensive infrastructure bill” in Congress, health care, weather patterns, and child care than the two vital ports he admitted represent 40 percent of the country’s incoming container traffic.
Buttigieg took a few jabs at Republican policies, arguing “corporations pay zero in taxes,” and said he would not advise House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, before redirecting to family leave, COVID-19 safety, and inflation as reasons to pass all awaiting legislation.
Over at HotAir, Ed Morrissey made some sentient points about the secretary, whose Twitter handle says his role is to “make transportation more equitable while fighting climate change”:
“Since when have Cabinet secretaries taken months off at a time for parental leave? Since now, apparently, even when crises brew within their portfolio. After all, Cabinet officials do not formally fall under the federal family leave system, and for good reason. Those positions are considered too critical for the operation of government to mandate such lengthy absences,” the senior editor explained. “Having an extended absence at the top of a complicated federal bureaucracy means either (a) that its operations grind to a halt from the absence of leadership, or (b) that Cabinet secretary position should get reconsidered in light of its lack of necessity.”
1) Manchin in response to Sanders push for him to back social spending pkg: This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 15, 2021