Megan Udinski, FISM News
As the transportation crisis expands, the public’s opinion of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has tumbled in light of recent events and comments. According to a recent Rasmussen Report survey of 1,000 possible voters, 47% responded saying they viewed the secretary “unfavorably” and the majority of those had a “very unfavorable” impression of him.
Many Americans were disillusioned when it came to light that Buttigieg took two months paternity leave after he and his husband adopted twin babies while the supply chain disaster multiplied. What made matters worse is that the leave seemed to be secretive, as the press weren’t alerted to the fact that the important role had been left vacant until shortly before he returned.
The secretary and the White House attempted to spin the negative response by focusing on the need to change the stigma surrounding paternity leave.
Transportation @SecretaryPete Buttigieg responds to criticism of his paternity leave, telling #TheView “the negativity was unfortunate” but it has “helped us have a conversation about parental leave.”
“Every American ought to be able to get paid parental leave,” he adds. pic.twitter.com/yem833b4tU
— The View (@TheView) October 20, 2021
In regards to his solution for the global failing supply chain, Secretary Buttigieg is pushing for the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill to get passed. He told Bloomberg News, “This is one more reason why we do need to deliver this infrastructure package, so that we can have a more resilient, flexible physical infrastructure to support our supply chain in this country.”
While the infrastructure bill has received bipartisan support, economists doubt that it will be the solution for the backlog of goods transportation and lack of resources as Buttigieg has suggested. Former White House Council of Economic Advisers chief economist, Casey Mulligan speculates, “This isn’t the first time that we’ve had increases in our shipment activity…the consumer didn’t notice because it wasn’t a screwed up system.” Mulligan is referring to the record-breaking 9.5 million cargo containers that passed through L.A. under the Trump administration in 2018 compared to the estimated 7.3 million this year.
Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute whose focus is economic policy, is pointing the finger at the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, “combined with unemployment provision that kept people not working, contributed to a degree of overheating in the economy that is driving a lot of the supply disruptions.”
Buttigieg also garnered heat for his take on the backed supply chain, attempting to imply that it was a sign of success for the Biden administration. In an interview with CNN, the Transportation Secretary said, “and if you think about those images of ships, for example, waiting at anchor on the West Coast, you know, every one of those ships is full of record amounts of goods that Americans are buying, because demand is up, because income is up, because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the teeth of a terrifying recession.”
Many found those comments to be detached from reality, especially for someone who had just returned to work. On the other hand, Democrats continue to celebrate Buttigieg taking advantage of his lengthy paternity leave, choosing to ignore the importance of the position he holds and the crisis he left others to deal with.
During this leave of absence, POLITICO reported that the secretary was having dinner with Democratic donors urging him to run against VP Harris in the next presidential election.
POLITICO reports Sec PETE BUTTIGIEG has been holding informal dinners w top Dem donors who are urging him to run against VP HARRIS.
Pete can’t go to work & deal w supply chain crisis but can hold informal dinners w Dem donors during his paternity leave. #priorities
— Mercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) October 21, 2021
If the current polls are any indicator, Buttigeig will have an uphill climb to earn back the favor of the American voters if he wishes to advance his political career.