News and Commentary

Biden Taps Buttigieg For Cabinet Position; Critics Immediately Note Issues Given Buttigieg’s Record

   DailyWire.com
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Democrat Joe Biden tapped former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to head the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday, a move which instantly sparked controversy given Buttigieg’s record while mayor.

“If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would run a sprawling federal agency that oversees the nation’s airlines, highways and transit systems,” Reuters reported. “At the Transportation Department, Buttigieg may be tasked with overseeing much of Biden’s plan to dramatically boost infrastructure spending, including building 550,000 electric vehicle charging stations and boosting spending on high-speed rail and other green projects, and persuading Congress to find a way to pay for new spending.”

While he was mayor of South Bend, the city’s roads became nearly “impassable in some spots” because they had deteriorated so badly, according to local news reports in 2018. Local car repair shops said that they had not seen anything that bad in well over a decade. The situation became so bad that residents of South Bend reached out to Domino’s Pizza in 2019 for help and received a $5,000 “Paving for Pizza” grant to fill in potholes.

“Cracks, bumps and potholes can easily ruin a good carryout pizza, and nobody wants that,” said Glenn Mueller, South Bend Domino’s franchise owner in a news release. “We’re thrilled that South Bend was selected as a grant recipient to help smooth the ride home for our carryout customers.”

In 2017, Buttigieg  reportedly got the road in front of his home repaved despite the fact that it was not initially scheduled to be done and was rated by the city to be in better shape than nearby streets. The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Though his street was not initially slated for repavement by the city in the summer of 2017, emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that Buttigieg’s then-chief of staff Angela Kouters expressed concern that Buttigieg’s home would not benefit from road maintenance. …

South Bend uses the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) scale, a 10-point rating system used to evaluate pavement conditions, according to a press release. Roads that receive a score between one and four are recommended for repaving. A full list of street assessments by South Bend in March 2017 shows the portion of North Shore directly in front of Buttigieg’s home, stretching from Michigan St. to Lafayette Blvd., was rated a six, indicating it was in “good” condition.

Horvath, South Bend’s public works director, emphasized that PASER ratings are “only one part” of the decision-making process. He added that it is not uncommon to make additions to the paving list during the season. The city’s press release cites only the PASER ratings. …

Neighboring blocks were repaved that year and rated in excellent condition. Other blocks on the street, however, were not repaved and remained in worse condition than that of the mayor’s street.

Buttigieg’s street was in better condition than 31 of the 32 roads paved during the same round of road work in 2017, according to the city’s assessment of street conditions. The roads repaved by the city in 2017 held an average rating of 3.6.

The Free Beacon’s report from earlier this year noted that the value of Buttigieg’s home had “more than double to an estimated $262,300 since 2009, according to the association’s estimate.”

Some critics online argued that Buttigieg was not qualified for the role. One critic, blogger David Atkins, wrote that Buttigieg “should serve in a role that he’s qualified for and has expertise in.”

Politico highlighted some pushback from the black community. “Just before news broke that Buttigieg will be Biden’s choice for the role, Black activists warned against his selection, saying he and other longtime Biden allies rumored for the spot have a poor record of working with communities of color,” Politico reported. “Two Black community leaders from South Bend — Council member Henry Davis Jr. and local Black Lives Matter leader Jorden Giger — both of whom have criticized Buttigieg’s record throughout his presidential primary campaign, mobilized again this week in response to reports that he was under consideration.”

“He did a really bad job for this community and my district in particular,” Davis Jr. said. “Bus lines have been shut down and cut off in one of the poorest census tracts in this country.”

“He has no history of working with Black owned businesses,” added Giger. “Hurting Black communities is not worth the price of doing a political favor for Pete Buttigieg because he endorsed [Biden’s] campaign in the primary.”

Others, like top political strategist Arthur Schwartz, maintained that Buttigieg should not be confirmed by a GOP-controlled Senate because of recent remarks that Buttigieg has made and a group that some of his former staffer’s allegedly created.

“I hope @SenateGOP remembers that @PeteButtigieg’s team was behind the plan to blackball everyone that worked for Trump, supported him or donated to his campaign,” Schwartz wrote on Twitter. “This guy shouldn’t be allowed within 100 miles of a position of power in DC.”

The “blacklist” effort was considered so extreme that even CNN’s Jake Tapper and left-wing Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said that it was a bad idea.

Schwartz also highlighted additional remarks that Buttigieg had made about top Republican leaders during the campaign season.

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