A panelist on “The Five” wondered Friday how many times Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg could “screw up” and make President Joe Biden “look bad” before being fired.
“When it comes to Pete Buttigieg, the White House is throwing him under the bus, kind of, by default because Joe Biden handled this poorly,” Katie Pavlich said. “Yesterday the White House press secretary was defending him from the lectern in the briefing room. I’m curious how many times this guy gets to screw up before they actually decide to get rid of him and start over. It turns out the transportation secretary actually has responsibilities.”
A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 3, prompting evacuations and shelter-in-place orders as authorities moved to address the release of the chemicals. Buttigieg did not visit East Palestine until Thursday, a day after former President Donald Trump delivered water and other supplies while visiting the town.
Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has come under fire for his handling of the derailment, including for not discussing the derailment in public until posting a thread on Twitter on Feb. 13. That same day, Buttigieg expressed concern about the demographics of construction workers.
“I do want to say one thing, though, which is there’s been a lot of bad-faith attacks on Secretary Buttigieg,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Thursday’s press briefing.
“Where was he during the cargo ship crisis where all the cargo ships were sitting out to sea? Where was he when the rail strike was about to happen?” Pavlich asked, referring to a 2021 supply chain crisis when Buttigieg took parental leave and tense labor negotiations during which a rail union threatened to strike in December before Biden signed legislation that imposed a new contract. “He was gone for that. There’s a number of things he’s M.I.A. for and this is another one. The rule is when you start making the president look bad, that is when it’s time to go. He’s done that a lot of different times.”
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