Joe Biden chooses main rival Pete Buttigieg as transport secretary


Joe Biden, the US president-elect, has chosen Pete Buttigieg, one of his former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, to serve in his cabinet as transport secretary.

U.S. media reported that Mr. Biden selected the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, for the post that would give the rising Democratic Party star a key role in shaping policy on infrastructure and climate.

Mr Biden, who has pledged to name the most diverse cabinet in history, continues to fill his cabinet ahead of his inauguration, and Mr Buttigieg would be the openly gay first cabinet secretary if confirmed.

According to a person familiar with Biden’s plans, he chose Gina McCarthy, former director of the Environmental Protection Agency, to be his national climate coordinator. This role would see her working closely with John Kerry, the former Secretary of State who was appointed Biden’s climate envoy on the international stage.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, has been chosen as energy secretary, according to US media. Biden’s transition team declined to comment on any of the appointments.

Mr Biden appointed Lloyd Austin the first black secretary of defense and Janet Yellen the first female secretary of the Treasury. He also appointed Katherine Tai as the first Asian-American trade representative to the United States.

Mr Buttigieg was considered a long-time player for the nomination when he kicked off his campaign, but the military veteran, who served in Afghanistan, rose to the top of the pack and ended up winning the caucuses of the ‘Iowa and finish second in the New Hampshire primary. .

He was one of many contenders to drop out immediately after Mr Biden resurrected his campaign with a victory in South Carolina, paving the way for the former vice president to defeat Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator.

As Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg clashed on the stage of the presidential debate, Mr. Biden later said Mr. Buttigieg reminded him of his late son Beau, a former attorney general and veteran who served in Iraq.

“I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but it reminds me of my son, Beau,” Biden said in March at a campaign event in Dallas where Mr. Buttigieg endorsed his former rival.

Reports suggest Mr Biden may ask Mr Buttigieg to become ambassador to China, but some Democrats have rejected the idea, saying he would not want to be so far from Washington given his own political ambitions.

Mr Biden is expected to place a high priority on infrastructure policy, in part to rebuild the crumbling roads and bridges that ravage parts of the United States, but also to help create jobs for mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rodney Slater, former transport secretary in the Clinton administration, said Mr Buttigieg was a good choice given his background in running a city.

“When you think of everything the President-elect has talked about in his Build Back Better plan, which is infrastructure-focused and facing the climate implications in regards to this issue, you need someone with Pete Buttigieg . talent and ability, ”said Slater, now a partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington.

Marsh Notes

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