Speaking on the Senate floor on Monday, McConnell said, “Even amidst a catalog of crises on his watch, from this and other recent train derailments to the meltdown in air travel back during the holiday season, Secretary Buttigieg has seemed more interested in pursuing press coverage for woke initiatives and climate nonsense than in attending to basic elements of his day job.”
Watch the video below:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell goes after Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg following the train derailment disaster in Ohio:
“Sec. Buttigieg has seemed more interested in pursuing press coverage for woke initiatives and climate nonsense than … his day job.” pic.twitter.com/o9fVWfdWyA
— The Recount (@therecount) February 27, 2023
Buttigieg was given a chance to respond to the minority leader’s criticism during an appearance on CNN’s “This Morning.”
“Well, first of all, Leader McConnell was there celebrating the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge, a major infrastructure project that we are funding in his state,” Buttigieg said.
He continued, “I would not call the Brent Spence Bridge a ‘woke initiative.’ As for climate, climate is not nonsense. Dealing with climate change is one of the biggest things that people like me and people like him will be remembered for after we’re gone.”
“And third, he is the caucus leader in the Senate. He could be a partner to us — right now — in making sure that there are fewer future rail disasters in the future,” he added.
Watch his comments below:
Pete Buttigieg on Mitch McConnell's criticisms: "First of all, Leader McConnell was there celebrating the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge, a major infrastructure project that we are funding in his state. I would not call the Brent Spence Bridge a 'woke initiative.'" pic.twitter.com/FFfe5JRYCz
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 28, 2023
Buttigieg has faced criticism during his time as the head of the Department of Transportation.
During the holiday season last year, conservatives blamed Buttigieg for disruptions that hit the airline industry as thousands of flights were canceled due to winter weather.
Conservatives have also taken issue with Buttigieg’s comments about addressing “racism that went into” past infrastructure projects around the country.
In February, he also drew criticism after he spoke about a lack of diversity in construction crews.
“We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color, that finally sees the project come to them, but everyone in the hard hats on that project, doing the good paying jobs, don’t look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood,” he said during an event.
The latest round of attacks comes after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. After the derailment, there were calls for the secretary to visit the town — which he did three weeks later.
Buttigieg’s allies are reportedly “exasperated” by the criticism he has received — specifically surrounding the East Palestine incident.
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