On Tuesday, it emerged that President-elect Joe Biden will appoint Pete Buttigieg – the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., And Biden’s former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination – to serve as transport secretary in its administration.
As one of the Democratic Party’s fastest young stars, the 38-year-old has been widely tipped for a role in the Biden administration. He turned two terms as mayor of a mid-sized town in a Midwestern Red state into national political aspirations – narrowly winning this year’s Iowa caucus and placing second in the New Hampshire primary, before dropout of the presidential race before Super Tuesday and endorse Biden.
As a backup for Biden’s campaign, Buttigieg has garnered praise for his willingness to appear on Fox News and other conservative media to defend Biden and the Democrats. This willingness to engage in a debate with the other side – coupled with his success as an openly gay Democratic politician in a traditionally conservative state – has only further polished Buttigieg’s star, with some seeing him as the future. of a moderate Democratic Party capable of defeating Republicans. in their own backyard. As transportation secretary, Buttigieg would be the first openly LGBTQ cabinet secretary approved by the U.S. Senate.
But Buttigieg also has his fair share of detractors. Even before the 2020 presidential campaign, his three-year stint with management consulting giant McKinsey & Co. and his over-ambitious, career-driven political trajectory was already raising eyebrows among the progressive left. But a controversial primary in which he attracted large corporate donors and frequently was targeting progressive frontrunner Bernie Sanders firmly established Buttigieg as black beast vocal online commentary from the left – which many dismiss as a continuation of the corporatized neoliberal establishment of the Democratic Party.
Those voices came forward on Tuesday to hear the news of Buttigieg’s impending appointment with skepticism and, in some cases, outright disdain – questioning his qualifications for the role and joking about what his tenure as transport secretary is. would imply.
Politico Transport reporter Sam Mintz highlighted the unprecedented scale of Buttigieg’s new assignment and how he beat some senior candidates to get the DoT.
But Mintz and other observers also noted that Buttigieg did indeed have his own transportation credentials, including initiatives he led as mayor of South Bend.
Nonetheless, Buttigieg’s appointment will anger those on the left who hoped Biden’s cabinet would set a more progressive tone. So far, it appears that the president-elect’s transition has not paid attention to cabinet recommendations presented by progressive groups.
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