Biden Stands By Buttigieg Despite Another Transportation Failure

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s time in office has been filled with near-constant crisis, yet his boss, President Joe Biden, apparently still has confidence in him amid the latest transportation nightmare.

Just a few hours after a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) computer system crashed and led to all flights being grounded in the United States — creating havoc for travelers — White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the president stands by his transportation secretary.

“Does President Biden have confidence in Transportation Secretary Buttigieg?” a reporter asked during the Wednesday press briefing.

“Yes,” Jean-Pierre responded.

The reporter pushed back on the press secretary’s quick response, asking her why Biden still has confidence in the transportation secretary — a question she clearly wasn’t ready to answer.

“Because Secretary Buttigieg is a, uh — he respects the Secretary and the work that he has been doing. You have seen the secretary on TV, you have probably spoken to him yourself,” Jean-Pierre replied.

On Tuesday evening, the FAA’s Notice to Air Missions system crashed, and the problem was not fixed until mid-morning on Wednesday. The massive failure forced all flights across the U.S. to be grounded, leading to the cancelation or delay of thousands of flights. This incident was the most significant breakdown in air travel since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Despite this information, Jean-Pierre had nothing but praise for Buttigieg’s performance as transportation secretary — claiming that he is “doing everything” possible to “make sure that the experience that Americans have is a good one.”

While the White House has said that there has been no evidence thus far to suggest that the computer failure was the result of a hacking attack, they have not ruled out a cyber-attack as of yet.

This is far from the first transportation-related crisis under Buttigieg’s watch. Just a few weeks ago, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the transportation secretary faced criticism from both sides of the aisle when thousands of flights were delayed or canceled. Some were the result of a severe winter storm that swept across the U.S., but others appeared to be purely due to the actions of the airlines themselves — which Buttigieg had been warned about by several lawmakers.

Buttigieg was also criticized for being on vacation during negotiations to avoid a railroad workers strike which would have had serious effects on the U.S. economy, and for taking roughly 3 months of “paternity leave” when he and his husband adopted children amid one of the worst supply chain crises in U.S. history.

Other critics have called the transportation secretary out for spending a significant portion of his time in office promoting non-transportation-related issues such as gender-neutral language, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, and gender equality while the country faces serious problems with air travel, port infrastructure, and supply chains, which he should be focused on.