Pete Buttigieg – A Norfolk Southern train crashed a month ago, discharging dangerous materials into East Palestine, Ohio.
Despite the fact that the leak has been stopped, there has been a lot of criticism directed towards the reaction, notably at Pete Buttigieg.
The United States Secretary of Transportation has made every attempt to help with the catastrophe, although he is well aware of his failings.
Pete Buttigieg believes his reaction to the train disaster was unacceptable.
He admits that the critique is valid, but argues that the critics are too brutal.
“It’s really rich to see some of these folks – the former president, these Fox hosts – who are literally lifelong card-carrying members of the East Coast elite, whose top economic policy priority has always been tax cuts for the wealthy, and who don’t know their way around a TJ Maxx if their life depended on it, to be representing themselves as if they genuinely care about the forgotten middle of the country,” said Buttigieg.
“You think Tucker Carlson knows the difference between a TJ Maxx and a Kohl’s?”
Pete Buttigieg admitted his flaws, including a previous trip to East Palestine.
Despite months of transportation challenges, he said he did not foresee the political consequences from the train catastrophe.
Despite his flaws, Pete Buttigieg responded to his critiques.
The transportation secretary insisted that the majority of the issues he’s been punished for are just remotely connected to his work.
He had little influence on the train derailment.
Calls for resignation and doubts
Several Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio, have called for Buttigieg’s resignation, accusing him of “deliberate ignorance” in not responding to the situation sooner.
But so far, Democrats have not been shy in expressing their misgivings.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia stated:
“People have to have a confidence – and they have more confidence when they see leaders.”
He also stated that if Buttigieg believes he is effective, he must make that decision.
An unnamed Democratic member of Congress responded:
“Buttigieg’s appeal in 2020 as a fresh new face – like [Jimmy] Carter, [Bill] Clinton, or [Barack] Obama – who wanted to get past the divisions and move the nation forward.”
“It’s sad to see him become a partisan brawler on Twitter and cable news. He’s become the most polarizing member of Biden’s cabinet.”
Despite calls for his resignation, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates indicated that Pete Buttigieg is not facing dismissal.
Yet, every transportation problem has generated chatter about how it may be Buttigieg’s ruin and obstruction of his long-term ambitions.
Up to that point, the most recent and difficult challenge in his career has been a train derailment.
Read also: East Palestine becomes GOP’s next focus
Underestimating the situation
Pete Buttigieg claims that arriving at the scene sooner would have made no difference in the Department of Transportation’s reaction because his department was engaged in just a small portion of the accident response.
Yet, he believed it might have been better and aided East Palestinian residents in witnessing a well-known political person demonstrating that they were being heard.
Buttigieg also stated that he had previously overestimated the amount of time he would dedicate to client relations and service.
“Sometimes people need policy work, and sometimes people need performative work,” he said.
“And to get to this level, you’ve got to be ready to serve up both.”
Pete Buttigieg has expressed concern about rail safety since assuming office two years ago.
He was also watching the derailment in East Palestine closely before it became a political problem.
Buttigieg performed preliminary research that led him to believe he would not visit.
That was a terrifying experience for him when he did.
“I could get technical readouts, information about the response,” said Buttigieg.
“But I think it was important to hear and see how the community was responding, what they were worried about, just a different way that you can sense on paper.”
“It just feels different,” he said of the sight of twisted metal and the scent of chemicals.
Pete Buttigieg wishes to convert the tragedy’s outrage into action, which might take years due to government bureaucracies.
“People who have sided with the rail industry again and again and again are suddenly acting like rail safety advocates,” he noted.
“But it also creates the chance to call them to the table and say, ‘Ok, if we’re serious now, let’s do this.’”
Image source: People