President-elect Joe Biden will call on former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to become his transport secretary, new reports show.
The 38-year-old former Indiana mayor and Democrat, who ran for president against Mr Biden in the 2020 primaries, gained national notoriety throughout the campaign trail and was seen as the l one of the best choices for the post in the new administration.
The news was first reported on Tuesday by Reuters. It follows previous announcements that Biden’s transition team has made in recent weeks of other appointments, including longtime diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who will serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Denis McDonough, former chief of staff of the White House, to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mr Biden compared Mr Buttigieg to his late son, Beau, saying at a March event: “For me, that’s the biggest compliment I can give a man or a woman. And, like Beau, he has a spine like a wand.
He added, “I promise you that over the course of your life you will end up seeing a lot more of Pete than of me.” ”
Mr. Buttigieg is the former mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, serving from 2012 to 2010. He also completed a seven-month deployment as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan. With his presidential campaign, he became the first openly gay man to become – even briefly – a leading presidential candidate. He has been married to her husband, Chasten, since 2018.
LGBTQ rights groups immediately praised Biden’s selection of Buttigieg.
“Pete’s appointment is another important step in a decades-long effort to ensure that LGBTQ people are represented throughout our government – and his impact will reverberate far beyond the department he will lead,” Annise said. Parker, President and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute. “It takes our nation away from a troubled heritage of excluding LGBTQ people from government positions and brings us closer to the president-elect’s vision of a government that mirrors America.”
The Department of Transportation helps oversee the country’s road network, planes, trains, and public transport, and is poised to play a key role in the early days of the new administration.
Mr. Biden has pledged to spend billions on major infrastructure improvements and modernization initiatives that can help the United States fight climate change. He also wants to immediately force the wearing of masks on planes and public transport to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Infrastructure spending can be a bipartisan issue, and President Donald Trump has spent years promising to pass a major bill through Congress that never materialized. Instead, his administration has decided to relax carbon emissions standards that Mr Biden’s team will likely work to undo as part of the broader pledge to slow global warming.
The once most frequently mentioned first choice to head the Department of Transportation, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama and former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, sparked a strong backlash from leading progressive activists.
Mr Emanuel, also a former congressman, helped oversee the Obama administration’s distribution of tens of billions of dollars in transportation spending as part of a massive stimulus bill approved in the wake of the crisis financial – but it now seems unlikely that he will take a position in Mr. Biden’s administration.
His chances faded after progressives and civil rights leaders were very critical of Mr Emanuel’s handling of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was killed by a white officer, while he was mayor from Chicago.
Additional Associated Press Reports