Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg vacationed in a famous tourist hotspot in Europe as the threat of a rail strike threatened to grind the U.S. economy to a halt.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Buttigieg left the U.S. for Porto, Portugal, on August 29, just days before Amtrak started canceling trips in anticipation that workers were going to strike.
The report said that some of the unions’ demanded that workers get paid sick leave which was not included in the final contract that U.S. lawmakers passed and sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. Biden had put Buttigieg as one of those in charge of leading the negotiations.
“Pete Buttigieg will take paid vacation in Europe for days on end but doesn’t think rail workers should get more than one day of sick leave,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said in a statement. “If rail workers showed up for work as rarely as Buttigieg does, the country would fall apart.”
The report said that while the nature of Buttigieg’s trip was not known, it appears that he did not want anyone to know about it as he tried to maintain the illusion on social media that he will still in the U.S.
“As usual, while traveling on personal time he remained available and engaged on urgent issues, which in this case meant multiple calls with staff and stakeholders to work on the topic of rail labor negotiations,” Buttigieg’s office claimed, adding that the trip had been planned long in advance and that his work helped “successfully prevent a rail shutdown included dozens of calls and meetings between April and December.”
A report from earlier this month revealed that Buttigieg, an ardent proponent of reducing carbon emissions, has taken taxpayer-funded private jets rather than commercial planes at least 18 times since he was inaugurated into office.
Buttigieg has utilized a private jet fleet whose private records match his schedule of external and public engagements, as Americans for Public Trust (APT) discovered, Fox News stated in an exclusive report.
“Every day Americans face flight [cancellations] and long wait times because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has completely mismanaged air travel,” APT Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland opined to Fox News.
“Yet, he gets to avoid all that by taking taxpayer-funded private jets to destinations with readily available commercial airline options,” she continued. “And for someone so holier-than-thou on reducing emissions, Buttigieg sure doesn’t seem to mind the pollution caused by his literal jet-setting. This is hypocrisy at its finest, and these troubling expenses to taxpayers must come under immediate scrutiny.”
In April 2022, Buttigieg stated at a virtual town hall, “When you look at the U.S. economy, transportation accounts for the largest share of our greenhouse gas emissions. To me, that means transportation ought to be responsible for the biggest share of the solution.”
In 2017, then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, serving in the Trump administration, was found to have taken over 25 private jet flights during that year, which prompted him to resign from the administration.
Hank Berrien contributed to this report.