Buttigieg evasive about VP Harris’ ‘equity’ remark, says ‘some Americans’ bear more effects of storms

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared on Fox News’ “Your World” Tuesday to discuss Hurricane Ian and the recovery efforts ongoing in Florida, during which host Neil Cavuto pressed the secretary to respond to controversial remarks made by Vice-President Kamala Harris concerning the distribution of FEMA aid.

(Video: Fox News)

On Friday, Harris said in terms of disaster relief for Floridians, “It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions… We have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity.”

When asked for his reaction, Buttigieg was evasive and said that every relief claim must be addressed on a case-by-case basis to be “fair” and “equitable,” noting that neighborhoods “completely cut off from resources” is different from a neighborhood that has “many access points.”

“I think we all know that some Americans bear the brunt most-of-all of extreme weather events. And we’ve got to make sure that we’re helping everybody based on the need that is there; that it’s fair, that it’s equitable. And that’s something that I think you see built into the process right now,” he said.

(Video: Fox News)

Cavuto pressed further and pointed to private aid groups like Samaritan’s Purse which are rejecting the notion of equity put forth by Harris. He then played a clip of the organization’s leader, Rev. Franklin Graham, offering his take on the VP’s remarks.

“A person that lost a roof that may have a big house, another person lost a roof that may have a small house; they still both lost their roofs, and their contents are getting wet. They’re being destroyed, and they need help,” Graham said.

Buttigieg responded by saying, “there are some folks who see politics where it doesn’t need to be,” perhaps willfully ignoring the fact that his vice-president has done just that.

He went on to explain that he sees things differently than does Graham. He crafted an example in which a person who owns a vacation home in addition to their primary home would be secondary to a person who owns only one home and lost it in the storm.

“[W]hether you’re talking about the insurance process or whether we’re talking about government processes, federal, state and otherwise, you take account for people who are absolutely desperate, experiencing hunger and their lives are in danger even today — from those who just need to work their way through an insurance process to try to get things back to normal,” he said.

“But again, I think that’s something that we should agree on more than we disagree on. And of course, we recognize that there are many Americans who were vulnerable the day the storm hit. They’re even more vulnerable now,” he continued. “And we’ve got to make sure we take care of them and take care of everybody to get them back on their feet.”

The conversation then turned to Buttigieg’s favorite topic: electric vehicles.

In his customary fashion, the secretary excitably tried to defend the viability of the technology even in the face of temporary but massive electrical grid outages across half of Florida.

Cavuto then quoted Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s remarks from a rally in Michigan over the weekend in which she accused Buttigieg of trying to “emasculate the way [Americans] drive” by phasing out internal combustion engines.

Buttigieg smiled at Greene’s quote and said, “I literally don’t even understand what that means.”

“My sense of manhood is not connected to whether my vehicle is fueled by gasoline or whether it’s fueled by electricity,” he added.

“To be honest, there are other members of Congress that I pay more attention to when I’m thinking about opinions that really matter or ideas that are going to be critical to engage with,” the secretary said.

He went on to insist that America lead the way in the conversion to electric automobiles.

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